“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“ Ro. 5:8
One year, I asked my husband to keep the Christmas tree until Easter to help us teach our kids why Jesus came into our world. As the tree aged and the pine needles fell, it became a messy task. We were living in an apartment and kept the tree in the balcony.
What was once a beautifully decorated tree, was now a prickly skeleton branch. The original plan had been to bring the tree in at Easter and hang a purple cloth on it. It was supposed to remind us that Jesus who was born as a babe at Christmas died on the cross for our sins at Easter.
The tree never made it into our living room. When my husband could no longer stand the decaying mess, he tossed it out. Thankfully, I discovered Resurrection eggs and I was able to tell my children the Easter story through it.
I live in one of the most atheistic countries in Europe and few here celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. For most Easter evokes colored eggs and whips decorated with colorful ribbons.
Easter weekend here is a time when the women folk prepare eggs and other goodies for the guys who come on Easter Monday with a freshly made whips. They make their way visiting family and friends and after striking the women with their sticks, the women offer the older men a drink and the younger ones eggs and treats.
Some of my Czech women friends (including my younger daughter) say they actually like being hit by the sticks. It’s all in good fun following a tradition that’s hundreds of years old they say.
But few are the people who go to church to remember what Jesus did at Calvary. My struggle year after year has been to share the Gospel story in a way they will understand. We’ve prepared Easter egg hunts which include the Resurrection eggs to tell the Easter story for children in our community and shown the JESUS movie among other things.
But I wonder if they really understand? The story of Easter of what happened at Calvary is so deep and profound that it would take a whole book to explain. And I guess the Bible is that book. At its core – is the cross of Jesus. Without the cross, the meaning of whole book would simply fall away.
As I see it, the old testament books point to Jesus and the price he paid at Calvary; and the new testament ones point back to Jesus and the finished work of the cross.
As a young child, I had a hard time understanding how love could be shown at the cross. And now as an adult I meet others who also struggle to grasp what happened at the cross. One of the best ways I’ve seen the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf explained is perhaps seen in C.S. Lewis‘ children’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I had a young friend, who was searching, watch the movie of the story (after watching the Jesus movie) and he told me with a big smile. “I get it. I understand how the Lion is like Jesus. He had to die.” The lion, Aslan, died in Edward’s place.
If Jesus had not paid the price for the sins of the world on the cross, we would not have any hope having a relationship with God.
The cross is the only way any of us will reach heaven. Jesus made it possible for us to come home to our Heavenly Father.
On the cross that dark Friday more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus died for my sins and the sins of every person that ever lived and will ever live. This was the love of God for each of us.
Jesus is the bridge to heaven
Some Czech believers made a movie of the often-told story called Most or The Bridge. If you’ve never seen it, you can watch it here. In the story, a father who is the drawbridge keeper sacrifices his son so that the people in the train can live. It’s a powerful moving story, but the comparison ends there.
What Jesus did for us at the cross is so much more than just giving us life on earth. He saved us from a train headed straight to hell – to eternal death. In its place He offers to all who will believe and put their faith in Him: eternal life – an abundant life that begins here and lasts to eternity.
This to me this is the crux of the Christian faith – God’s amazing grace, his incredible love for every single person was what happened at Easter when Jesus died on the cross and was raised alive on Sunday morning.
Jesus paid the price. But the choice is ours to make. Will we accept Him and what He did for us?
Easter is the gateway to eternity in heaven with Jesus.
Happy Easter! The King is alive!
What about you, friend, what does Easter mean to you?