“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
You may know Easter as the time of the year where there are Easter bunnies everywhere and everyone is hiding Easter eggs in their gardens for the kids to find. Everyone’s sugar levels are high, they’re spending time with friends and family and they are having fun. Sounds good, right? The truth is that this is not at all what Easter is about. Easter should be a time of remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Jesus freely gave up his life to reconcile us back to the Father. Jesus was so distressed by the fight that awaited him at the cross that he sweated blood. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that is not all that happened. In that instance, when the sins of the world were upon Jesus, he was separated from the Father. We will never understand the pain and desperation Jesus felt when he said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Here are some scriptures to help you remember the true meaning of Easter.
1. 1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
2. Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they and some others came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 They entered in, and didn’t find the Lord Jesus’ body. 4 While they were greatly perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling clothing. 5 Becoming terrified, they bowed their faces down to the earth.
They said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He isn’t here, but is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again?”
8 They remembered his words, 9 returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them told these things to the apostles. 11 These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn’t believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping and looking in, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he departed to his home, wondering what had happened.
3. John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
4. Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back.
5 Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed. 6 He said to them, “Don’t be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him! 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.’”
8 They went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid.
5. Matthew 28:1-20
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky and came and rolled away the stone from the door and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men. 5 The angel answered the women, “Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”
8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!”
They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go tell my brothers [a] that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me.”
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Say that his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept. 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until today.
16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him; but some doubted. 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go[b] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
6. John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
7. Romans 1:4
who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord
8. Romans 8:34
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
9. 1 Corinthians 15:17
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.
10. Luke 24:36-39
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
Next time Easter comes around, take time to be still and ponder the magnitude of what this time represents. Acknowledge that Easter is the culmination of Jesus’ life, the reason he came. Spend time in the Gospels, reading about the life of Jesus, his works, his miracles, his wisdom and love for us.
Celebrate the life and death of Jesus. Celebrate the fact that Jesus defeated death and went down to hell and got back the keys of the Kingdom. Most of all celebrate that without Jesus, without his sacrifice we would not have access to the Father, nor would we have eternal life.
Remember John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
And if you then still have to, eat a chocolate bunny.