What is Easter?
Most of us who grew up in Church can recall getting dressed up for Easter Sunday in pretty pastel dresses and suits. Some traditions include gathering around a feast, then taking some time to go search for Easter eggs. We may have had the world famous “Easter Speech” we had to recite both at church and around family; the speech to our aunts, cousins, uncles and grandparents was similar to a speech to accept a Grammy award. Our tradition may have even included our family making our weekly trip to church but with a little more participation in the form of a praise dance or a choir performance. When the festivities are done, everyone heads back to their lives as usual.
What if this year was the year where everything was different? What if you had an encounter so bold things were never the same?
Take some time to seek and you will find that this day is so much more than a Sunday to get dressed up. It’s more than the Easter bunny, or your grandmother’s traditions.
Easter is a promise of new beginnings. Easter is an encounter.
Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as described in the New Testament. The story of Easter begins with the life of Jesus. Jesus was born of Mary, and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Spectators would look at this to be a child born out of wedlock; Jesus began his life as an outsider. The theme of attacks carried him through his entire life and ministry on earth; as a child, King Herod sent soldiers to kill him (Matthew 2:13) Jesus was doubted (John 20:24 – 29), tested (Matthew 4:1-11), abused & ridiculed (John 6: 48 – 58), and betrayed (Luke 22: 1 – 6). Everywhere he turned there was opposition from society in Jesus’ life.
Yet, he persisted. The life and ministry of Jesus drew crowds of people thirsting for what he had. His life and ministry also attracted people who wanted to stop him from changing the world.
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy week. It commemorates Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem as seen in Matthew 21, when crowds of people welcomed him into their land and declared him to be the prophet of Nazareth. Fast forward to the Last Supper (In Christian tradition, Thursday of Holy Week), we’ve likely heard the story of Jesus foretelling that Judas would betray him. Jesus began the church’s tradition of communion during the Last Supper. Here he passed a cup of wine and a portion of bread to the twelve disciples decreeing that when this is done it serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that was to come. This is where things begin to take a turn in the history of events.
Good Friday is a day in history where an innocent man was beaten, tortured and sacrificed for the sins of many. The bible teaches that while he was hanging on that cross—his body bolted down with nails—that the essence of who he was became sin. Meaning that Jesus, who never sinned would embody every type of sin and shame, so we could claim victory over all things through that same power. But first, Jesus, like our sin, had to die. Billy Graham once said, “It was not the people of the Roman soldiers who put [Jesus] on the cross—it was your sins and my sins that made it necessary for Him to volunteer His death.”
How could this awful event, the crucifixion, be celebrated? How can we use this day, and say that there is hope in it? Where is the hope and joy in celebrating a day that a man was crowned in thorns? What is so good about this Friday?
Easter is an Encounter.
Jesus’ death is not the end of the story—Praise The Lord!! Jesus was then placed in a borrowed tomb where he laid dead for three days; on the third day (Resurrection Sunday), His tomb was found empty. To everyone’s surprise, Jesus was raised from the dead! A short while later, Jesus reappeared to his disciples in all his holiness and communed with them for 40 days. Before he left, Jesus promised to fill them with the Holy Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit? It’s God’s Voice. It’s God’s Power. It’s God’s Anointing. It was the agent the disciples used to carry on the work of Jesus, including, healing the sick, raising the dead, and providing hope to the lost. And it’s the same spirit that did these works, that can change your life.
Because of Christ, you NEVER have to be the same again.
You have everything you will ever need in Jesus’ sacrifice, and his gift of the Holy Spirit. When you accept His gift, you begin to experience love like never before. It’s love that will restore your broken heart, lift heavy burdens, relieve your shame and guilt, and give you a new outlook on life. You no longer have to turn to old habits. You don’t have to compete with your past. You don’t have to settle for what others have said about you, and you no longer have to settle for what YOU think about you. With Jesus’ death and resurrection, you’ve been given a clean slate to write a new narrative for your life.
Tradition says to put on your finest suit and your fanciest dresses to gather together, Jesus lets us know that all He really wants us to bring is our hearts to Him.
And just like Jesus cares for you, so do we! Studies have shown that each year around holidays such as Easter and Christmas the search term ‘Church’ spikes in Google, meaning people are looking for a group to come learn more about Jesus and you might be trying to find that place. Come join us, You can sit with us! Join us on Resurrection Sunday at The GO on April 21, 2019. Learn more about our worship services here! Lean in, and encounter Jesus like never before!
Love you, see you there!