Matthew 28:6, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” NIV
GOOD PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN?
Walking across the vast Tiananmen Square, our tour guide pointed out the shrine that housed the body of Mao Zedong. “People think he was a god,” she said. I questioned, “But his dead body is over there?” Blankly she affirmed, then added, “It’s not like Christianity where good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.” Um, not exactly…
Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” KJV
Christians celebrate resurrection, new life and abundant life, but honestly, the cross is gruesome. A crown of thorns is not much of a warm fuzzy sentiment either. For many reasons, Christianity is offensive to many, just as Paul said it would be.
I Corinthians 1:23, “But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” NIV
Every other religion in the world requires man to work to get to God. Since Heaven is viewed as a reward to be earned, people often say, “I’m doing the best I can.” Christianity is counter intuitive – God made a way for man to get to Him instead of man trying to make his way to God. Who is worthy?
Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” HCSB
Easter is never mentioned in the Bible and in fact, the very word may have pagan roots. Nowhere are we instructed to celebrate resurrection. Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are a peculiar way to commemorate a dead body emerging from a tomb, yet this year in the United States, 2.2 billion dollars will be spent on candy. Seriously. Candy.
Investing in new clothes to impress people you have not seen all year – even stranger. Americans will reportedly shell out 2.9 billion dollars on Easter duds this year. This is despite the fact that more people plan to cook or spend the day with family instead of going to church.
I Peter 3:3, “What matters is not your outer appearance-the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes-but your inner disposition.” MSG
Food accounts for the majority of Easter spending, a whopping $5.3 billion. And what about ham? Of all things…
Leviticus 11:7, “The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean.” NLT
BUT WE SHOULD CELEBRATE
We are offered a gift. It’s a trade really; our sin for His righteousness. Because although sometimes we are arrogant enough to think we deserve more, the wages of sin is death. Wages are earned. Pride is the biggest stumbling block, because we think we are good and we deserve to earn our own way and determine our own destiny. But we all fail, no exceptions, no exemptions.. Sin is anything that falls short of God’s holiness and His perfect laws. Death is not merely physical, it is eternal separation from God. A gift is free, it is unearned and you don’t pay for it. Why do we want to bring something to the table when we have nothing to offer except filthy rags? The gift is eternal life.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” KJV
EASTER CHANGES EVERYTHING, BUT DOES IT CHANGE YOU?
Because of Easter I am different. My perspective is different, my reactions are different and my life is certainly different. So, I will celebrate being a new creation and the gift of eternal and abundant life, despite my circumstances.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” NLT
BUT, I AM NOT GOING TO CHURCH
I have to be honest, I won’t even be there this Easter Sunday. I’ll be on the road, temporarily relocating my daughter to Atlanta. We ate Easter dinner from my grandmother’s china last weekend, which is a family tradition. And I probably need to tell you we ate ham. Of all things…
Every holiday I read scripture from my grandfather’s Bible pictured above.
Do you have a meaningful way to celebrate Easter?
(Statistics quoted from National Retail Federation 2015)