A teacher recently asked her students to explain the meaning of Easter. The responses both surprised and saddened her. Their responses ranged from coloring eggs to chocolate bunnies to Easter baskets. Not one student made mention of Jesus. When the teacher shared how Jesus rose from the grave the students sat looking a bit confused. They had never heard that part of Easter.
We might think this teacher was a missionary in foreign country but it was right here in the USA. We could say how this is simply a shame that American children aren't told about Jesus but that won't address the issue satisfactorily. It's up to us, the Christians, to make sure the true meaning of Easter is known by all.
Easter means that God has confirmed a new covenant of salvation for any and every person who comes to Jesus. This covenant will never be changed, broken, or replaced. How do I know this? Because God raised Jesus from the grave. I want to make a simple appeal to any unbelievers reading this. Do you really believe Jesus is dead? If you are honest you know you would have to admit the reason the grave was emptyis because Jesus is alive. If the disciples had stolen the body would they have died to hide a lie? If the Pharisess hid the body wouldn't they have produced it to prove Jesus was dead? But neither happened because it's true. Jesus is alive!
Because Jesus is alive we know God will keep His covenant of salvation with all who receive His Son. This truth really is a blessing especially when we or a loved one faces eternity. As I write this I am in Alabama for my father-in-law's funeral. I have only known Tom for 10 years but in that time I have come to love him like a dad. This wasn't hard to do because Tom was one of the easiest people to get along with. He was a tremendously supportive man who lived sacrificially to help others. The many condolescences we have received spoke of how my father-in-law helped them. He was an addictive disease counselor who helped hundreds to recovery. It was his nature to help, encourage, and give generously to others.
But no matter how good a man Tom was that still wasn't enough. Tom had to do what we all must do to have eternal life. He had to come to Jesus to be saved. I could share about his personal journsey there but it's sufficient to say my father-in-law was a Christian man who lived a Christian life. When his earthly journey ended our family was heavy with grief. But our grief is turning to joy because we also know that Tom Claunch didn't die. He simply changed where he lives. Tom Claunch is living in the presence of our living Savior.
We often try to explain the meaning of Easter is deep theological terms. I guess it's nice to have all that Bible knowledge but what we need is a simple faith in an undeniable truth. When I sit in the chapel service tomorrow I'm sure I'll still have grief. But I will also know that because Jesus lives Tom lives, I will live, and you can too if you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.