As we celebrate this Easter, let’s ask the question once more. What does Easter mean to you? Is it just another holiday or so much more?
- An excuse to buy a new outfit?
- A time to see and be seen in the local church?
- A family reunion?
- The Easter Bunny and all of its trappings?
None of these things are “evil” in and of themselves, but is that all Easter is?
For me, those things listed above are a part of Easter’s activities, but the real celebration does not need any of them. Easter is a time of year when I celebrate God’s greatest gift:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
John 3:16-21, NIV
Easter: His Gift, A Chance at Life
For me, this takes on an immediate meaning as well as the eternal. In May of 1993, I found myself without hope and could not fathom any reason to continue living. I had rejected God. I had given myself over to a life of lies, addictions, and hate. All I could see was despair.
God found me there and showed me His love. A young man, who I had ridiculed continuously for his dogged determination in inviting me to join his Bible study and visit his church, came upon me in the midst of my preparation to hang myself. What he did for me, still amazes me to this day. Upon seeing me, he dropped to his knees and began to pray for me.
I do not remember his name. Nor do I remember what he prayed. I remember sensing hope and peace. He finished praying and once again invited me to attend his church, Armitage Baptist in Chicago, IL. This time I accepted. That Sunday, the message was for me. I gave myself to God that day and professed my belief in Jesus. There I found Life.
I Am Not Condemned
I know God’s forgiveness. In my repentance, He washes away my sin and shame. In their place, He fills me with His Love.
I Have a New Purpose
My purpose is to live by the Truth so that all may see the Glory of God.
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
John 3:21, NIV
Easter is a life-defining moment for me. It is not something celebrated one day of the year. It’s the essence of life for me. I am nothing without God.
What does Easter mean to you?
Article originally posted in March of 2010.