When Jesus walked the earth He made some pretty outlandish claims and statements. He upset the religious and political leaders of the day – confusing them with His parables and stories, inciting them by confronting their fastidious laws and self-righteousness; defying them by prioritising the love and care of others over strict observance of the Sabbath. He said He was the Way, Truth & Life, the Bread of Life; the Living Water. He ate with sinners, healed untouchables; offered forgiveness to law breakers.
This Resurrection Sunday we celebrate the time when all these statements and actions find their fulfilment. Just two days before, He had been brutally tortured and murdered and laid to rest in a sealed tomb. All of His teachings and declarations had a great big question mark over them. Could He really be “the Life” if He was dead?
What dark days they must have been.
And then He rose from the dead!!! Putting a massive exclamation mark on everything. He said He was the resurrection …and then He resurrected!
The resurrection changes everything. The truth it reveals beckons us to respond by receiving its power and surrendering our lives to all Jesus would seek to do for us, in us and through us.
One Easter my brother was having a chat with his young son around Communion. They talked about the bread and the juice and he was most pleased to hear my nephew able to recount that they represented Jesus’ body and His blood.
“And what are they to remind us of?” he asked.
“That Jesus died.”
“That’s right! (*insert proud parent moment … potentially Christian-Father-of-the-Year worthy*) … And why did He die?”
Pause … serious thinking face …
“Because He ate too many Easter eggs?”
Hmmmm … so close!! 🙂
Easter presents a similar dilemma to Christmas – where the commercial version of the celebration has moved so far from the original event that making the links, particularly for young minds, can be a challenge. “Jesus died on the cross to forgive us from our sins … and … so we can have Humpty Dumpty themed chocolates and a camping trip with our cousins.” You can see how that might be problematic.
The events of the ‘Easter’ weekend are what Christianity is all about! The fact that the God of the universe became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, lived on earth, died a torturous death on the cross (for OUR sin) and then rose to life again is THE story!! Everything we know of God, everything we experience of relationship with Him and the security of our future in Him was made possible by the true “Easter story”.
As with Christmas, the commercialisation of the event comes with some great perks. There’s lots of chocolate! There are hot cross buns! There’s a long weekend! But the obvious caution is that we can lose something significant if we don’t counter that message with the message of Jesus.
There are lots of ways to get intentional about communicating the REAL Easter message to our young people. I’m sure many of you have some super creative ways to do that or some simple but tried and tested methods and traditions. It matters less HOW you do that and more that you just do! Prioritise church (Friday AND/or Sunday) and take the opportunity to invite friends and family along, read the Biblical account of the Easter weekend (there are lots of kid/family-friendly versions available), take time to reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and to celebrate His resurrection.