When “Easter” rolls around many people think about dying eggs which makes for a decorative, colorful basket. Then there are others who think about Jesus dying on a cross, then rising from the dead. He did that to pay the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven which gives us access to God.
It is fun to think about dying eggs, and putting on a brand new dress along with new shoes and a brand new bonnet. It is not fun to think about Jesus dying on that cross, but it is vital that we take time to remember what He did and why He did it.
Some people have never even acknowledged the “what” and “why”. If that is you….now is the time to gain some knowledge so you can understand what Easter is really all about.
There is a principle in the scriptures that demonstrate the innocent dying for the guilty in Genesis 3:21. Adam and Eve lived in the garden and had constant fellowship with God until they sinned. Because God could not look at sin He provided garments which were made of animal skin to cover them. In other words, an innocent animal had to die…to shed its blood…to cover those who were guilty.
Leviticus 17:11 describes the law regarding atonement for sin. It says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” In other words, the law stated that the penalty for sin had to be paid for with blood.
That is why Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood. He paid a price that nobody else could pay and closed the gap that separated us from God. In Hebrews 9:22 we read that everything is purified with blood, and that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
For many years it was the blood of animals that covered up sin but God decided to implement a better plan. That plan was that His son, Jesus, become the sacrificial lamb. His blood satisfied the requirements of the law once and for all…for every sinner, forever.
Jesus was willing to do the Will of His Father because He knew it was the only way to not only cover those who have sinned, but also to take away their sin. (Luke 22:42) He was keenly aware that this plan meant immense suffering. Jesus really didn’t want to go through such agony so He spent some time in prayer asking God if there was any other way to accomplish what needed to be done. There wasn’t so He submitted willingly.
Sadly, we read that the pain Jesus suffered was not only on the cross. Approaching that dreadful day, (Luke 22:47) He was betrayed by one of His disciples (Judas). You can imagine how painful that must have been, especially if you have ever been there. Continue reading (vs. 57, 58, 60) and notice that another one (Peter) of His 12 denied Him not once but three times. That had to be extremely hurtful emotionally. All the while, those who had arrested Him beat Him beyond recognition.
Chapter 23 gives the accounts where Jesus had been taken to both Pilate and Herod, types of government officials. Neither found him to be guilty of any crime worthy of death. However, the crowds made a lot of noise and demanded that Jesus be crucified. Eventually Pilate gave in to what the people wanted. The soldiers took Jesus and pierced his hands and feet and nailed him to hang on the cross. But before his execution they stripped Him of His clothing and put a crown of thorns on His head. Imagine the humility and shame this innocent man must have felt to accomplish the gift of life for us.
Isaiah 53 says He was despised and rejected and we esteemed Him not. He bore our sickness and pain but we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God. Yet He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and we have been healed by His wounds.
After Jesus died they took Him down off the cross and buried Him in a tomb. However, He rose within three days declaring victory over the sting of death.
How many people do you know that would suffer any kind of injustice or pain for you or another, let along dying in such a way that Jesus did?
This greatest act of sacrificial love needs to be recognized and remembered by everyone because we are all like sheep who have gone astray. The Father allowed our iniquity to fall upon His son, Jesus, so we could be forgiven. We should not take this lightly but rather take it to heart.
You don’t have to wait until Easter Sunday…go ahead and thank Him now for what He has done. And, if you have never accepted what He has done for you…this is the day. Don’t wait! Let Him move into your heart and resurrect it to new life.
May you always remember what Easter is really all about!!!