Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Reason For the Easter Weekend

A four day weekend for the Easter Bunny? I don’t think so.
Actually, the reason for Easter weekend is something for greater. You would like me to explain? I would love to!
Let’s start here: If you had been suffering in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, and your life had become a depressing fog of hopelessness as people suffered and died all around you, and along came the Allied forces to deliver you out of that prison camp, tell you the war was over, and you were now free to go home, THAT would be a good reason to have an annual celebration of the event.

The Easter Bunny? Not so much.
Now, what if the suffering in a Nazi concentration camp had a spiritual counterpart that applied to all people who had ever lived? And, what if this deadly concentration camp held every human being captive, with every one of them dying in misery and hopelessness?
And, what if, at some time in history, something happened that had the capability of saving any person out of that horror camp so that they could have their life back and return home?
And what if the person who designed and created this rescue mission was still offering humanity the opportunity to be saved from this prison camp, and continuously gave his gift to all who would receive it? 
Let’s add to this.  

What if there was a very distinctive reason that the celebration had to include a Friday and a Sunday? What if the rescue mission involved a most unusual and powerful event on a Friday, and an equally unusual and powerful event on a Sunday, and people who wanted to commemorate and celebrate what was done for them needed a longer-than-usual weekend to express their love and appreciation to the one who provided for their rescue?

Would you concede that, if something impossibly and horrifyingly wonderful happened on a particular Friday, and something impossibly and excitingly wonderful happened on a particular Sunday, that a long weekend celebration might very well be a very good way of continuing the joyful memorial?

Now, let’s speak of this in terms of the details of the rescue mission. The real prison camp is the powerful and deadly world of sin and death that ruins lives everywhere and always. Sin is the powerful tyrant that enslaves every human being to its whims and wishes, cursing us all with its cancerous poison, and guaranteeing a deadly and horrifying and hopeless end to all our lives, no matter how good or bad they have been.[1]

In the way that a torturous and abusive and murderous prison camp steals people away from their homes and homeland and enslaves them to its cruel punishments, sin takes us away from the Father who created us to be his children, ruins our relationship with him through lies, soul-torture, and propaganda, and secures our eternal condemnation to the horrors of hell.[2]

As in all wars, there is a price to pay to liberate POW’s. In this case, the wages of sin is death.[3] Therefore, the price required to liberate souls from sinful condemnation was the death of one who was not among the prisoners. This also had to be one who could die for more than one person. He would need a human nature in order to die for human prisoners, and he would need a divine nature in order to apply his death to numerous people, whoever wanted his gift of Freedom.[4]

Since God was determined that he would have children in fellowship and friendship with him, he designed and enacted a plan in which his only true Son, sharing the same divine nature as his Father, would enter our world as a human being, fully retaining his nature as God, in order that he could both die for human beings, and die for all human beings who would receive his gift.[5]

As this Son of God came into our world in the person known as Jesus the Christ, God could then provide an eternal person and a human person who could die for lost, forsaken, sin-poisoned prisoners of war in a way that would save as many as would receive his rescue mission.

In historical terms, because Jesus’ death for sin took place on a Friday, people commemorate that gift by observing a day called “Good Friday”. While death itself is not a good thing, the fact that God’s Son would die for our liberation was the goodest thing that has ever been done for us.

However, that is not the end of the story. On the third day after his death, Jesus was raised from the dead to complete the plan of rescue. People would not only have someone who paid for their sins, but someone who was alive to share the newness of life that was now available.[6]

Do you think that someone dying for you, rising again for you, living for you now, and promising you the assurance of life after death, would constitute a fairly good reason to have a whole long weekend to celebrate?

At the very least, that is a far better reason than an Easter Bunny!

© 2017 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

Editor’s note: This was originally written as a way to share about Jesus’ death and resurrection with some young friends and I present it for your encouragement as well. A printable quarter-fold version can be found at the link in the footnote if you would like to share it with others.[7]

[1] Romans 3:23 declares that all people have sinned; Romans 6:23 declares that the wages we earn from our sin is death. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us how hopeless this deadly condition is. John 3:18 tells us that everyone who does not believe in Jesus is condemned already, and John 3:36 says that this includes the wrath of God remaining on them because they are guilty of all their sins.
[2] John 10:10 shows that Jesus came to give life, but the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy any hope of us coming to Jesus and receiving his life. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus describes hell as a place where both soul and body are destroyed.
[3] Romans 6:23
[4] The fact of Jesus being both divine and human is revealed in passages such as these: Matthew 1:23 speaks of the birth of the Christ child and explains his name as “God with us”; John 1:14 says that “the word”, meaning Jesus the eternal Son of God, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us”; Colossians 2:9 says that “the whole fullness of deity dwells in him bodily”.
[5] Ephesians 1:3-14 gives a beautiful description of God’s determination to adopt us as his children, and what he provided in Jesus Christ for this to happen. I Timothy 1:15 states that Christ Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of saving sinners. John 1:9-13 speaks of how Jesus came into the world, but the world neither recognized him nor received him. However, those who did receive him are given the right to adoption as the children of God.
[6] The gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all give details of Jesus death and resurrection. Romans 1:1-6 introduces this to us in summary form, as does I Peter 1:3.

No comments:

Post a Comment