There are many reasons to love Easter. Easter comes at a most beautiful time of the year. It follows a desolate time of year where many suffer from seasonal depression and hopelessness. In a matter of a few days, winter is no more and spring has come. It’s truly magnificent. For the Christian, the celebration of Easter involves a time of reflection and a time to recognize the journey Jesus took to become our sacrificial Lamb. If it were not for this special time of year, we might continue in our platitudes and never slow down enough and force ourselves to think of the reality of His great sacrifice on our behalf.
Many will pause for Easter, and use it as a time to celebrate with egg hunts and one mutantly large bunny. It will be nothing more than a time for a family gathering. My oldest son can’t seem to tolerate the name, “Easter” any longer. For him, the word represents nothing that has to do with Jesus and his suffering and death conquering on our behalf. There is some debate as to the origin of the word, Easter. Some claim it has pagan origins, while others claim its basis in Christendom. I told my son he could quite correctly begin calling the day, Resurrection Sunday, if he wanted to.
That whole discussion piqued the interest of my daughter who, recently listening to a series by Andy Stanley on her daily commutes to school, popped up with, “And did you know that Jesus never referred to people as Christians? That’s what Andy Stanley says. He says Jesus called us disciples. That Christianity can mean many different things, none of which have much to do with following Jesus. “
All true, Andy. Thank you for sharing.
So here’s the deal. If we want to be very clear about this day we all celebrate, it can come down to semantics. As disciples of Jesus, we emulate Him. We die daily to the things we want, to the way we want our lives to go, in favor of His way. We take up our crosses. We bear the burden of what being a follower of Jesus entails. We are disciples, Christ followers. The Bible may not be clear on what a Christian is, but its pretty darn clear about what a disciple of Jesus is to look like. As disciples of Jesus, we celebrate Resurrection Sunday tomorrow and we clap, shout, jump up and down if necessary to let Him know how thrilled we are that He saved us. We can have Easter without the eggs, the mutant bunny, and without family lunches after church, but we cannot, would not, have Resurrection Sunday without Jesus.
Had He not left the safety and pleasure of heaven, to be born into a world of moral decay, lived a sinless life worthy of a perfect sacrificial lamb, taught us how to be disciples, suffered horrendous and unspeakable pain, watching as His Father turned his back upon Him, died and then with the power of the Holy Spirit, be raised from the dead, there would be no celebration of anything related to this day. No Jesus? No eggs or bunnies.
I love the talks I have with my kids about these things. It tells me they are thinking these things through for themselves and coming up with good conclusions, all on their own. So as followers of Christ, disciples of Jesus, we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday tomorrow. It is our hope; it is our rescue. And here’s some truth from my pastor. Jesus doesn’t want you to celebrate Easter; He wants you to experience it. It is freedom, the only real freedom you can ever have.