So, what does Easter mean? For many, Easter means celebrating traditions. It may be your tradition to gather together for a special meal. It may be your tradition to have small children search for neon colored eggs that are hidden out in the open in your yard. It may be your tradition to even go to church, buy new clothes or celebrate in some religious way. Is that really what Easter is all about? Is there more?
Easter is the celebration of the pinnacle of human history. It is at this point and time on the calendar that we celebrate an event that changed all other events. Shortly after man was created, sin entered the world and through sin – death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 3:23; 6:23). However, when Jesus died it was not a normal death (Matthew 27:45-55). When Jesus died, it was God’s Son dying. But why would God send His own Son to die? The simple answer is for you and for me, for love (John 3:16-17).
So, what happened on Easter? If you have heard the story, you know that Jesus has risen and the tomb is empty (Matthew 28:1-10). This truth means more than an empty tomb 2000 years ago. This truth is the pinnacle of human history and it has implications for our lives now. It means that when Jesus rose He defeated death and through that act changed human history (Ephesians 2:1-10; Revelation 1:18). The curse, which was on all of mankind, was reversed. He came to give life (John 10:10; 14:6) and while we were spiritually dead in our sin He gave us life. If you have that life (1 John 5:13) then you have reason to celebrate.
The question is what does Easter mean to you? It is more than a story that the tomb was empty and He has risen – the truth of that event has changed human history. It is more than a nice meal, neon eggs and even attending a religious service. Easter changes everything. The question is: has it changed you?
It is well known amongst church leaders and regular attenders that Christmas and Easter are the highest attended weekends of the year. This coming Sunday many churches will add services and seating to accommodate larger than normal crowds. The church that I serve at, Southbridge Fellowship, meets at a movie theater and we too will add an additional 8:00am service to accommodate these one or two time a year attenders. Some have even affectionately called this crowd the “Creaster” crowd. That is Christmas and Easter Christians.
For some pastors and regular attenders it may seem frustrating that these Creaster’s only attend once maybe twice a year. For this crowd, many churches will spend extra money, time and human resources (extra volunteers) for a one-time encounter with these people. It can seem like a lot of work for a one-time event. However, my hope is that these one-timers may get a glimpse of the love that God has for them. It could happen in a lot of ways: through the friendliness of a greeter, usher, or parking lot worker, the attentiveness of a children’s ministry volunteer, something that is said in the sermon or sung through the music, or even through the person they sit beside.
My hope is that, somehow in some way, God would reveal Himself and His immense love for them in such a way that they would be forever changed. Some may come to the place where they see past religion and begin a genuine relationship with God. Others, who may have trusted Christ as their Savior in the past, may see some genuine believers trying to live out their faith and be drawn back into a faith community. A few may be in town and take what they see back to their church.
Regardless, on Easter we get a shot. Maybe it is only one shot, but we get a shot to show off the love that Jesus Christ has for us all. We get a shot to say or do something that could have an eternal impact in someone’s life. Someone who may be open to God one day a year in a way they are not open any other day of the year. I hope that this Easter God will use me and you to reveal Himself to the one-time attenders that may give us a shot. I will be praying for these one-time attenders this week. Please join me in praying that God gives us eyes and opportunities to see what He wants us to see and do what He desires for us to do.
Part two of this blog entitled: What is Easter? will be coming this Friday.