Easter Bunnies, Jesus, and Johnny Cash

1 Corinthians 15:14 
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

Without the resurrection our faith is pointless. With the resurrection our faith is everything.

Easter is here again, on Sunday. Easter is great because it means He is risen! I once had to wear an Easter Bunny costume to hand out candy to kids shopping at a local grocery store in Tucson. (I was also Chuck-E-Cheese at Chuck-E-Cheese’s) My church used to have sunrise services with camping and egg hunts in the national forest of Tucson. Easter bunnies and eggs of course have little to do with Christ rising again. The tradition started with the Lutherans in the 17th century and functioned in a similar way to Santa Claus. A bunny bringing golden eggs and candy for the good boys and girls before Easter. The eggs and bunny are tied to fertility and newness with spring. As I said before with Christmas the meaning doesn’t entirely matter anymore to most people as it simply adds to the celebration of Jesus rising again.

It causes excitement and points to something bigger than itself. The celebrating is the point as I hinted at before with the Christmas discussion.  It is about what we are celebrating. The eggs and bunnies and chocolate are just a way to add festivities to the day that we celebrate that Jesus has risen and we have an everlasting hope. And Kimberly and I will definitely hide eggs with candy in them for Raphael when he gets older. For now, I will eat his candy and pet the bunny.

But I will tell him that this holiday is the capstone of the Christian year! This is the day that all Christians remind themselves that Jesus has conquered death. This is the Gospel concluded. In the end death will not have it’s sting. This is the Christian hope that one day we will rise again as Jesus did. As Paul reminds us that Christ was the first fruits of resurrection.

This is why Johnny Cash sang quoting the apostle Paul:

Oh Death where is your sting?
Oh grave where is your victory?

And he also sang:

Ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

He sang these songs because he understood the message of Easter. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has validated all his teaching. He is the messiah and he does in fact have the power over death and thus he does have the power to forgive sins. Even though the Pharisees were offended that Jesus was offering something that only God himself can do. This is why the resurrection is so great! It means Jesus was right! It means everything that he said is true! And thus he has the relationship to present us to Father in favorable terms. He himself is also God.

Easter is the message that Christians are supposed to get to. The good news of the Gospel is supposed to get to the rising from the dead part. This is the content of faith. Who do we say that Jesus is? Our answer is what defines our faith. The Christian answer is he is God in the flesh. He is the mouth piece of God, his miracles attested to his relationship to the Father and his ability to forgive. The resurrection was the capstone of testimony to who he is. His power to overcome death is why we have a world religion following after him.

The resurrection is God’s exclamation point on the witness of Jesus. If you didn’t believe his message about himself from just the miracles that he performed on Earth, or from his powerful teachings with authority, then believe because not even death could hold him down. He is still alive today. Jesus Christ is not a historical past character, he is an ever present alive deity in heaven. And he is calling.

This is what Easter is about. He is real and he is fantastic! And better yet he is still offering his story to you and to me.  He is still offering forgiveness and a relationship with God. Because he is risen it means Christianity is not simply a movement that honors some long dead dude with cool ideals that we think will work for an ever crappy world.  No, Christians follow a very much alive Jesus Christ who fully suffered and died on a Roman cross in the first century and then on the 3rd day from death rose again to life.

Do you believe that? That is the question for all people.

I suppose only those that are interested in a relationship with God will bother to answer. But for those who have answered in the positive, they get to fully celebrate Easter as a remembrance of the amazing miracle that testifies to our very much alive God Jesus Christ.

Easter reminds us of his victory. Easter reminds us of our future. But Easter also reminds us of the world’s need.

John 3:16 Says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

The dual message of Easter is that He is risen, that we get to rise also! But also that some won’t. Some haven’t yet come to terms with Jesus Christ. Some haven’t believed.

Johnny cash sang that death has no sting anymore, that the grave will not hold him down. But for many it does and it still will.

In our reminder in this day of his resurrection, let’s not forget that he has a Gospel that he wants us to share.
Let our excitement of Jesus carry over into an excitement that he offers himself to those out there in the world that need him as well. I believe part of the celebration should be that the Gospel is still readily available.  So as part of the celebration remember we are not still on the earth to simply celebrate but to perpetuate.

So be excellent to each other, party on this day (on Sunday) but share the Gospel, share your Joy!

thanks

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