As we celebrate Easter, the time spent with family and friends fills the weekend with sweet memories. The kids get dressed up in their “Easter-best” and everyone looks just right. The pictures that are taken are shared, reviewed, and serve as reminders of loved ones that brighten even the darkest of days.
But as with any other weekend, Monday rolls around. The plastic eggs are empty and back in their zip-lock bags. The Easter baskets are full of empty wrappers and half of the colored plastic Easter grass is missing or strewn in various places. It reminds us of the joys of the day as we pick up and pack up.
Like any major holiday, did it leave an impact on your life as you recall the day? Perhaps it left no meaningful mark. Now, a new Monday rolls around, and you find yourself back in the grind of a normal week. But today, here is an important question, Easter has passed, now what?
The actual celebrated holiday may be passed, yet the true meaning lives on! Note some truths that are truly life-changing!
1. Easter is not about Chocolate, it is about CHRIST.
Have you ever bitten into a chocolate bunny and felt the disappointment as you met the air inside the hollow shape? You scramble to catch the crumbling pieces of chocolate lest any should fall to the floor. Contrast that to biting into a solid piece of chocolate and the satisfied expectation as your bite meets the dense quality of the “as-it-should-be” treat.
Many spent Easter focusing on the superficial meaning of Easter, only to move beyond it with a feeling of emptiness – just like the hollow chocolate bunny. The world and its glimmer of happiness cannot equal that which is found only in Christ. That which began on Christmas day culminates in the eternal truth of Easter. Christ was born, not to be a babe in a manger, but to be the Sacrifice, the One to bear the sins of the world.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1 Peter 2:24
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Jesus Christ was born to die. He lived to pay the sin penalty of the whole world. Personalizing this means that He died for MY sins. He died for YOUR sins. On the cross, He bore every single sin you could ever and will ever commit. Think of it, He who knew no sin (committed no sin of His own), took our sins and laid them upon Himself (II Cor. 5:21). The perfect, spotless Lamb of God took our place on the cross that day, bore our hell, and took the punishment that we deserve. Jesus’s love spans the ages, yet so personal, it reaches out to you, right where you are at this moment.
2. Easter, although a great time to be with Family, is about FORGIVENESS.
While on the cross, Christ cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34). Human flesh then cries, “It was not me! I was not there. I was not born yet.” Although physically accurate, this is far from spiritual reality.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
It was we, spiritually, that despised Him. It was we, spiritually, that rejected Him. It was we, spiritually, who hid our faces from Him. It was we, spiritually, who esteemed (regarded, valued) Him not. We have gone away, looking for answers, solutions, and that which will take away the stain of sin. We, while seeing Him crucified (spiritually), reject the very sacrifice and forgiveness offered by the Lamb of God. Yet in His great love for us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
It is by grace alone that we have the ability to receive forgiveness from God. Note these realities:
a. All Are Sinners!
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
God’s Word tells us the truth about ourselves. We are all sinners. We all have sinned. We have come short of the perfection that is in Christ by disobeying God. Not one of us can say that we have never sinned.
b. Sin Has A Penalty!
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The payment (wage) that I receive for my sin is death and separation from God in a literal, eternal place called hell (Matt. 25:46). But God has no desire for this separation. This is why, through grace, He has provided the gift of eternal life – the sacrificial atonement offered through His Son, Jesus Christ. He has demonstrated His love for us already and provided the way of salvation.
c. Jesus Paid It All!
8 But God commendeth (demonstrated) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
He came not as Judge, but as Savior! He came not to Condemn, rather to SAVE!
John 3:17 (KJV)
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
His love for us is proven fully in the giving of His Son. Jesus died in your place and paid your penalty. When He said, “It is finished,” mark it down, the penalty of your sins was paid in full! Christ’s death on the cross affords us the privilege to know true forgiveness.
3. Easter is not about a Rabbit, it is about the RESURRECTION!
I must admit, I like the candy that accompanies Easter. Just ask my kids. I do not regret saying that the Easter Bunny is not the giver of hope that is guaranteed to last your life through. The reality is simple – any solution for the soul that is man-made is hollow and cannot merit any good thing. If there was another way for man’s sin-debt to be paid, Christ would not have had to die, and most assuredly, He would not have. But there is no other way. His blood has to be shed. He is the only Way!
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The Resurrection of Christ is proof that He has conquered sin, death, and hell, and that He alone as the power to grant us eternal life.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Death could not slay Him. The tomb could not hold Him. Roman guards could not keep Him. Love Declares, Forgiveness Shouts, “He Lives!”
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
The message here is stated, not by man, but by the angelic messenger from God. Go tell everyone – He is not here – Lo, I have told you! This is the truth. This is God’s truth. This is eternal truth. This is the truth of God’s Son!
Easter is passed, now what? Believe on Jesus Today!
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Is there anything I have to do to be saved from my sin? The Bible makes it clear – the answer is yes. I cannot earn salvation. I can do no good work to merit eternal life. I must simply ask for it.
I challenge you today with these final thoughts:
Is your belief system (religion) good enough to die on?
Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
Has there been that moment where you called upon Him as Lord to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart as Savior? If not, do it today! Pray sincerely, “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and stand in need of You, my Savior. I believe that You died on the cross and shed your blood to pay my debt of sin. I believe that You rose again the third day proving that You live today. Please forgive me of my sin. Come into my heart and save me, the sinner. Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me and giving me eternal life. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Easter is passed, now what? If you received Christ as Savior, first, we would love to hear about it. Contact us at 813.884.8250 x235 or come by and visit us during any of our regularly scheduled services. We have a gift for you. It would also be a privilege to meet you and hear of your new-found faith in Christ. Secondly, get into the Word of God every day and grow. Serve Him with your life. Thirdly, we would love to have you visit Hillsdale Baptist Church, where God’s Word is proclaimed and His Son magnified!
God bless you this day!