A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

March 31, 2013

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who according to His abundant mercy 
has given us a new birth to a living hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled
 and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 
who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1: 3-5)

     As I get older, my faith becomes more precious to me, and the significance of my Lord's sacrifice has more power and authority in my life.  Perhaps it is because as our culture seeks to diminish who He is, Jesus's supremacy in my life has increased.  I spend more time in my Bible than I ever have, and I find myself "going here and there to increase knowledge."  Our relationship has never been more personal and He reveals Himself more each day.
     So, today, on the day that we celebrate His resurrection, I would like to explore the history of what our culture calls "Easter", and see if I can reclaim the spiritual reasons we observe this holiday.
     I'm pretty sure that most Christians are aware that, in our faith, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of what Christ did for us.  His willingness to pay the debt owed by all mankind throughout history, for the sins we have committed, culminates at the Cross.  He endured God's wrath so that we could be forgiven our sins and reconciled with God, our Father in heaven.  Christ's crucifixion and resurrection constitutes the single most important event upon which Christianity is based.
     But I would be willing to bet that most Christians do not know the history or significance of why we celebrate "Easter" with bunny rabbits and colorful eggs.  The origins of Easter are rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility (hence the eggs). Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration. Today, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.
     I find it ironic that many institutions like Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama decided to ban the word "Easter" from their various activities that usually involve a person dressed up as a rather large bunny, encouraging children to hunt for hidden eggs.  According to this school principal, “Kids love the bunny, and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others, because people relate the Easter bunny to religion."  The joke is on them!  The Easter bunny is not religious at all .... it is pagan, which should suit them perfectly!  Hunting colorful eggs on this day is fine, as long as we make sure our children know this is just a game, and the real significance of the day is explained and emphasized.
     All Christians should acknowledge that this day is in celebration of our reconciliation with God.  Christ's resurrection represents so much:  He had finished the work His Father sent him to do; His death on the Cross completed His task, namely seeking and saving those who are lost.  Through this single act, Jesus provided atonement for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him (Romans 3:23-25).  None other than God in the flesh could accomplish such a task.
     But there's more!  Also completed was the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, symbols, and foreshadowings of the coming Messiah. From Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the coming of the Anointed One, all fulfilled by Jesus. From the “seed” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, to the prediction of the “messenger” of the Lord (John the Baptist) who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah --- all prophecies of Jesus’ life, ministry, and death were fulfilled and finished at the Cross.
     So this is what I wish for everyone who believes.... that on this holy day, we will know that Jesus's triumphant and glorious victory over death is ours, as well.  We can count on it!  Just as He was resurrected to new life, so shall we be.  And that certainty will give us hope so that we might endure suffering, persecution, and danger.  Just as He did.  We are living in perilous times, and our faith will be tested.  Do not fear!  We know our destination! When Jesus rose from the dead, He showed us that God has the power to resurrect us, too!  No matter what God has in store for us, we can lay claim to His promise.  On this day, we celebrate the blessed guarantee that those who believe in Christ will be victorious and will be resurrected unto eternal life.  It is with a humble and grateful soul, that I proclaim, He Is Risen!

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