THE MEANING OF EASTER
When I was a teenager, I read the New Testament for the first time. I have to admit, I could not understand how God would send his Son to die a brutal death as payment for the sins of humanity. This made no sense to me at that time. It seemed sadistic and wrong! I kept thinking, “What kind of God would do such a thing?”
It wasn’t until I became an adult that I finally received an adequate explanation. First of all, I needed to understand that God is One. Jesus was God’s Word or message on Earth. While Jesus was a person, He was also a part of a greater spiritual whole – the Godhead. Thus, it wasn’t like God was really killing another god-like being. In fact, God was sacrificing a part of God’s self on behalf of humanity. Thus, it was really more like a self-sacrifice on the part of God Himself.
But why would God make any sacrifice on behalf of sinful humanity? Well, I had to understand that God created humans in the first place. He created the entire universe in fact. But humans were the high point of His creation. By creation, I do not mean to say how God created humans, but rather that He set the process of evolution into motion so that it would lead to the human race and everything else that exists. The Bible tells us that God loves humanity. He wants all humans to have a spiritual life with Him following our earthly death. This would be an everlasting spiritual life. Thus when the Bible said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but have everlasting life;” it explained exactly why God would make such a sacrifice – love.
Today we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. In Christianity, the Easter holiday is the greatest feast of the year. This is because the resurrection proved that Jesus was being truthful when He claimed to be the Son of God. And because Jesus was who He said he was, we Christians can rest assured that God accepted His payment for our sins in full. That is, we are forgiven all of our faults and misdeeds by simply asking for forgiveness and believing in the Son of God.
The night before Jesus was crucified, He had dinner with his disciples. As a Jew, Jesus was celebrating the Passover Feast. However during this Passover dinner, Jesus once again informed his disciples that He must be betrayed into the hands of sinners and killed. When He broke the bread, He indicated that it symbolized His body which would be broken for them for the forgiveness of sins. He then took the cup and indicated that the wine symbolized His blood which would be shed for them for the forgiveness of sins. Then He asked that the disciples (and thus the Church) engage in this ritual to remember Him.
Easter marks the day that Christians remember Jesus and God’s self-sacrifice to redeem His beloved human beings from the bondage of their sins. Today I am grateful that I understand the true meaning of the Easter holiday. But most of all, I am grateful to God for His amazing, and truly unconditional love!