Easter is even closer than it was when I did my last eggs-ellent post! Yay! Does anyone know the story of Easter? And NO, this is not it:
Once upon a time there lived a magical bunny in a town full of magical bunnies who wanted to do something good for the world, so he decided to make the children of the world happy and painted eggs and hid them and became the Easter Bunny. (The End. Besides, that’s a run-on sentence. How could that be what Easter is all about?)
That is not the story of Easter. The Easter story is one full of hope, faith, and everlasting love…
One day, thousands of years ago, an angel appeared to a young woman. He told her that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son, who would be the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, and so much more. She was to name him Jesus. When he was born, a brilliant star guided shepherds and kings to him. They came to worship, for they understood that this child was the son of God and would save them all. (His birth is why we celebrate Christmas.)
As this baby grew into a boy, and into a young adult, and then into a man, everyone, especially the Pharisees (people who were basically considered Bible geniuses and pretty much had the whole thing memorized) were astounded by his knowledge of the Bible. But of course he would know so much about it; it was his father (God) who wrote it! He taught many people a ton about the Bible and his father. He had twelve main followers, or disciples, but it would become eleven later. (One of them betrayed him later.) During his whole life, Jesus never sinned. Not once. He was tempted by the devil, but he never gave in, which made him the perfect sacrifice.
One night, before he died, Jesus was praying in a garden. He was praying because he knew his death was coming. Sure enough, a few minutes later, one of Jesus’s disciples, Judas, entered the garden. He was leading the guards to Jesus. They took him away and he was beaten, mocked, and finally, nailed to a cross. Later that day, he died hanging on that cross. He was about thirty years old. At the moment of his death, an earthquake shook the ground, finalizing this event.
Now I know you are thinking, “What a terrible ending!”, but that’s not the end of the story. Why would we be celebrating Easter if that was it? No, that was good Friday, three days before Easter. You see, Jesus died because everyone on the planet sins. We all make mistakes. And the punishment for those mistakes is being separated from God. It’s death. We needed a perfect sacrifice, someone who lived here on Earth but did not sin, to bridge that gap between God and us. Jesus was that person. He paid for our sins with his blood, and we are now able to live forever with him in heaven if we believe in him. But only because of the rest of the story…
After Jesus’s death, his body was placed in a tomb of stone. A huge boulder was placed in front of the opening, so that no one would try to remove his body. But on the third day after Jesus’s death, two women went to his tomb. To their astonishment, the stone was rolled away! They looked inside, but instead of Jesus’s body, they saw an angel. He told them that Jesus had risen from the dead, and was once again alive! Jesus had conquered death!
That was Easter. Not a magical bunny. Not plastic eggs. Both of these things can be fun reminders, but the true story of Easter is the resurrection of a perfect sacrifice who paid the price for all of our sins.
This story changes everything. Everything. To know that someone cares enough, loves me enough, to be beaten, mocked, and have nails driven through his hands and feet, well, that makes me feel pretty special. It gives me hope. Hope for myself. I know that after I leave Earth, I’m going to a much, much better place. Hope for others. All they have to do is believe and ask Jesus to be in their life, and they can go to this perfect place too. Hope for the world. The world where, every day, there are wars and death and terrible things. But I can still have hope. Easter is about hope. And new life. We can all have new life through Christ. Just like an egg represents new life. Chicks hatch out of eggs. New life. So whenever you’re collecting those bright plastic eggs, don’t think about the candy inside. Think instead about what else could be inside your egg: Hope. New life.