- Holidays and Celebrations
How to Keep Christ in Easter
It is so easy to have Easter come and go without ever taking the time to stop and think about the true meaning of Easter. The world tells us that it is about the Easter bunny, baby chicks, colored eggs, and most importantly chocolate. I personally love the malt ball eggs. However, Easter has nothing to do with any of this. Easter is all about God, who sent his Son to earth to lay down his life for all of us. Jesus was fully man and fully God. Easter is about redemption! Let us take a closer look at how to keep Christ at the center of your Easter celebration on a personal level and as a family.
Personal Ways to Keep Christ in Easter
The most important thing to remember at Easter and year round for that matter is that God loves us so much that he would rather die on a cross than to see us be sent to hell for eternity. Stop and think about that as we examine it more closely.
Remember the Ugliness of Your Sin
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so that you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:3-5
Paul wrote in his letter to the Roman church that we are all guilty of sin and that there is no one that is righteous. David adds in the verses above that we are sinful from the time we are conceived in our mother’s womb. You may be thinking, I am a good person. It is easy to think that when you compare yourself to those around you, however, the standard that you ought to be comparing yourself to is God’s. His standard is perfection. If you think that you meet God’s standards, here is a little test to give yourself:
Have you ever told a lie? Remember that a half-truth is a whole lie.
- Have you ever lusted after anyone? Jesus said that if you have you are guilty of committing adultery.
- Have you always honored your father and mother?
- Have you ever wanted something that someone else has?
- Do you consider anything or anyone more important than God?
- Have you misused God’s name? Have you used it as a swear word?
- Have you ever been unjustly angry about something?
These are just seven of the Ten Commandments. If God were to judge you by them, would you be innocent or guilty? I know that I would be guilty! I have broken God’s commandments repeatedly. The Bible tells us that the penalty of sin is eternal separation from God in hell. Why does God take sin so seriously? He takes it so seriously because He is a God who is holy and a righteous judge. The reason it is so serious is that it is because of who the offense is against. If you commit an offense against a peasant it is one thing, but if you commit an offense against a king, it is an entirely different matter. When we sin, we offend a holy God. Easter is a good time to reflect on the ugliness of our sin before God.
Who am I?
Remember Why Jesus Came
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22
As the writer of Hebrews states that there can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood, we are hopelessly lost in our sins. We can do nothing to save ourselves. The prophet Isaiah tells us that our good works are as filthy rags in God’s eyes. The cross represents God’s answer to our hopeless condition. Jesus, the God-man, came to earth born of a virgin with the sole purpose of laying down his life for the sins of the world. He lived a perfect life and when the time came, He laid down his life out of obedience to God the Father.
Remember the Price that Jesus Paid on the Cross
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
It is so easy to say that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but how often to we ever stop to think about the price that he paid on our behalf. Remember that Jesus is God. Let us take a look at the price that he paid:
- Jesus was flogged with a whip with sharp pieces of bone that were stuck into pieces of leather. The pieces of bone would literally rip the flesh off of your back. Roman floggings were extremely brutal and even led to people dying before they were crucified.
- Jesus was spit on and mocked by the Roman soldiers. They also put a crown of thorns onto his head. He was also mocked by the thieves on the crosses next to him as well as by the chief priests.
- Jesus suffered the excruciating pain of being crucified, which not only included nails being driven through each wrist and one through both feet. In order to breath, you would have to push up on the nail in your feet which would cause your back that had been opened up painfully rub up and down against the rough cross. For a better description of what crucifixion looks like, watch the Passion of the Christ.
- The most devastating cost that Jesus was paid is when all of the sin of the world, including yours and mine, were heaped upon him while he hung on the cross. For the first and only time, the Godhead was separated. God the Father turned his face away from his sin laden Son. This is also the only time that Jesus refers to God as God and not my Father when he cried out by saying “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The price Jesus paid was for you and for me. His sacrifice on the cross was made so that you and me do not have to spend an eternity separated from God in hell. The cross represents God’s forgiveness of sins because Jesus Christ paid the debt that was owed by you and me.
Remember the Empty Tomb
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:5-6
Keeping Christ at the center of Easter is impossible without remembering that Jesus’ tomb was empty on Easter morning. He is risen from the dead! He is risen indeed! Reflect on the importance of the tomb being empty:
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ was proof that our sin debts are paid in full. The power of sin was defeated.
- Death was also defeated; we no longer are forced to go to hell when we die. We know have a choice to accept God’s free gift of salvation or reject it.
- The biggest loser of all was Satan. He was once and for all defeated by Jesus’ death and resurrection. He is still prowling around causing havoc, but as Martin Luther put it, his doom is sure! With each passing day, his appointment for eternal punishment is coming closer and closer.
Remember What Easter Means for You
Another way to keep Christ in Easter on a personal level is to remember what it means for you. If you know Christ, it was your adoption into his family. If you do not know Christ as your Savior, it is an invitation to come into God’s family if you will repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. I urge you to make a decision for Him today because you are not guaranteed another day, hour, or minute.
“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
If you are interested in receiving Christ, pray a prayer like this and mean it with all your heart:
“Father, I confess that I am a sinner and that I need a Savior. I repent and turn from my sins. I accept your free gift of salvation. Please be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Remember to Worship Christ
One of the most important ways to keep Christ in Easter is to spend time worshipping him for the sacrifice that he made on your behalf. Thank Him that he loved you enough to die for you. Thank Him for his grace and mercy. Sing worship songs with joy and thanksgiving to Him.
Remember the Great Commission
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
Another great way to keep Christ at the center of your Easter celebration is to share your faith with others. Easter is one time of the year that people are more open spiritually as well as going to church. Share with them how Christ has changed your life. It if makes it easier, buy some Bible tracts and hand them out to people that you meet.
Ways to Keep Christ in Easter as a Family
I direct this next section to parents and men specifically. We are to be the spiritual leaders of our homes so let us take the lead men. Start out by taking time to personally reflect on the meaning of Easter and then spending time together as a family focusing on Christ’s sacrifice. Here are some additional ways a family can keep Christ at the center of their Easter celebration.
Read the Easter Story as a Family
A great place to start is to read the Easter story to your family. It does not matter which Gospel that you read. If you have younger kids, make sure that you take the time to explain to them why it is so important. If you have older kids, take turns reading each of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Attend a Tenebrae Service on Good Friday
Another great way to keep Christ at the center of your family celebration is to attend a Tenebrae service on Good Friday. A Tenebrae service is a unique church service where the lighting in the church gets darker and darker as the service goes on to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ. The service usually contains singing and a few Bible readings. It can be a very powerful and meaningful time. I remember the first one that I went to and by the end you feel the darkness and the hopelessness that Jesus’ disciples must have faced.
Attend an Easter Service
Attending an Easter Service is probably the most obvious thing to do to keep Christ in Easter, but it is also, one of the best. The worship portion of my church’s Easter service always seems to be electrified and joyous. This is always a wonderful time to invite friends and family to go to church with you, because many people are much more receptive around Christmas and Easter.
Watch the Passion of the Christ
Another great family activity to keep Christ in Easter is to watch The Passion of the Christ because it does an amazing job of portraying Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is better suited for families with older kids because it is extremely realistic. Watching it reminds me how serious God takes sin and what the true cost of Easter was. It is a very moving and heavy movie.
Resurrection eggs are a good tool to use with families of all ages. You can either buy them in a store or make your own. They are plastic eggs that contain something symbolic in each one, including a cross, thorn, rope, nail, cracker, and more. One of them is left empty to represent the empty tomb. There are two ways that you can use these. Open one a day for twelve days and tell your kids about what the symbol means. If you do it this way, take some thought to arrange the eggs so that you open them in a relevant order. The other way that you can use them is to open them all on Easter morning. They are a wonderful teaching tool to help kids understand the true meaning of Easter.
Keep Christ at the center of your Easter celebration this and every year. I urge you that if you do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior to take some time this Easter season and explore the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection because life is short and death is an absolute certainty. Do not put off making a decision for Him.
I would love to hear any ideas that you may have about keeping Christ in Easter.