For many people, Easter is a time of bunnies, candy, eggs, spending time with family and dressing up for a trip to church. However, the true meaning of Easter is much more profound and all encompassing. We find this story in the pages of the Bible. As the Easter holiday season grows near, let us look at some Bible verses that shed light on the significance of that first Easter weekend and why it should matter to you.
Why was there a need for an Easter event in the first place?
Humans are born separated from God because of sin. This is our original condition. We are born with a selfish tendency to rebel against almost everything…including God. The Bible tells us “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23 NASB)
These sins are a barrier between God and us. We will never be what we were created to be as long as sin, which is selfishness and rebellion against God, is not dealt with in our lives. We cannot fix ourselves, so we need someone else to remedy our situation. God supplied this remedy because He loves us.
The Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:16). The entire Bible is a testament to God’s love, but the events of that first Easter weekend long ago exhibit His love in unmistakable clarity:
“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the [offering, payment] for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NASB) God’s love for us is so great that He devised a plan whereby His very own Son would take on the sins of mankind, pay the price for those sins, and offer us the opportunity to be forgiven and set free from sin’s deadly influence. This passage assures us that God has provided the means by which we may be reunited with Him. Now, the choice is ours whether we reject or accept His offer. Jesus has done the hard part. He died on the cross for us.
The almighty Creator of the universe gave His Son as a sacrifice for your sin and mine. Too often this is overlooked amidst the festivities of our present day Easter celebrations.
God’s Plan to Pay for Our Sins
The apostle Paul presents the Easter message quite clearly in First Corinthians 15 when he writes:
“…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (verses 3-4 NASB)
The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is what makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God. We can be forgiven of the sins we have committed, we can live a guilt-free life, and we can spend eternity bathed in the incredible love of God…starting right now.
Jesus Christ willingly laid down His life in payment for our sins.
This is the real meaning of Easter.
The Benefits of Participating in God’s Plan
When we trust Christ and give our lives to God, we can be assured we have…
…His forgiveness of our sins:
Romans 8:1 tells us this quite plainly: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
The freedom one experiences when they become a follower of Jesus is almost indescribable. The weight of everything we have ever done wrong is lifted off our shoulders and our hearts are filled with a joy that is rich and real. Many times in my life, before I became a believer, the nights would seem extra long and extra dark. I would dread the coming of the morning light; fearful of what the new day would bring down on me. Jesus brought light and love into my life and I have never been the same.
Jesus promises us that He will be by our side through whatever life may bring our way, “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NASB)
Is there anything more comforting than to know that the Lord of the universe is by your side through thick and thin? Facing any challenge, known and unknown, is no longer a cause for anxiety, rather confidence, when you know the Lord who loves you is with you.
Jesus spoke these words of encouragement to his followers, both in His day and ours: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NASB)
In these present trying times of moral laxity, economic uncertainty, natural disasters, and many other causes of difficulty, Jesus says that He his presence in our lives will be a source of peace and power that will enable us to be victorious over the hardships of life.
…His power to conquer sin:
One of my very favorite verses in the Bible concerns God’s promise to provide the means by which to keep from sinning. It would be tragic if, after we had been forgiven and brought into a loving relationship with Jesus, we could not help but continue in a lifestyle of sinful behavior. But God promises us His power to live a life free from sin: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB)
God even promises us that our relationship with Him will continue after we die. The eternal life He promises us starts when we give Him our lives, but it never ends. In a million years, we will still be in His loving, caring presence: “…an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:4 NASB)
Finally, the greatest Bible verse for the Easter celebration must be the verse that most people, whether believers in God or not, know well enough to quote from memory: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB) This verse, probably more than any other verse in the Bible, presents God’s message to humanity. This verse embodies the entire Easter story in a few succinct words. It contains the greatest offer of the greatest gift there is…a personal relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
This Easter season won’t you consider the implications of what is contained in these few biblical verses? Where are you in your relationship to God?
Please consider accepting God’s gracious gift during this holiday season in which we celebrate the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One who made it all possible.