Easter.  The time of year when flowers begin to blossom, bunnies emerge as the number one pet, and ordinary white eggs are transformed into meticulous works of art.  Men, women, boys, and girls dress in their very best, often posing for Easter photographs before Sunday dinner, knowing that everyone may become a little disheveled after eating a bountiful holiday meal.  Children enjoy hunting for eggs that hold a multitude of treasures, secretly hidden by the Easter Bunny himself.  Parents’ eyes fill with delight as children sort through the goodies carefully chosen and displayed in a colorful basket filled with plastic “grass” in a rainbow of colors.  Many people will steal away for a quiet afternoon nap, having risen before daybreak to attend a sunrise service in their community.  Easter is a day for family, a day for rest, a day to remember what Christ did for you and me.  But I want to ask you, should Easter come just once a year?

On Easter, we remember what Christ did for us.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that we may have everlasting life.”  God gave the most precious gift that he could give to the world.  God did not wrap up His Son in a neat little package with a bow on top, expecting to receive a thank you card from the recipients.  The package was two pieces of wood nailed together to form a cross.  The bow was a crown of thorns pressed into His Son’s skull.  Instead of gratefulness for this most priceless gift, the only acknowledgement He received was the voices of the crowd who cried, “Crucify Him!”

Just imagine.  God sends His 33-year-old Son to die for a world that despises Him.  He watches intently as His little boy is nailed to a tree, enduring more pain and agony than any one person has ever felt at one time.  God looks down from Heaven as His Son’s side is pierced, blood profusely pouring out of the wound.  All the while, both Father and Son could have called ten thousand angels to stop the evildoers in their tracks.  But Jesus trusted His Father.  He knew that His Father would work all things together for His good.  And God knew that putting an end to His Son’s suffering would change nothing.  He knew His Son had to die.  He knew that this selfless gift would change everything.

Soon, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished” (John 19:30 ESV).  For Jesus’ mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and his disciples, I am sure this seemed like the end.  Jesus was dead.  He was laid in a tomb.  The grave was the final stop along life’s journey.  For two days, Jesus’ family and friends visited His gravesite.  For two days, nothing changed.  But on the third day, everything changed.

For on the third day, the stone had been rolled away.  Two angels spoke to Mary Magdalene when she came to the see the place where Jesus’ body lay: “‘Woman, why are you weeping?’  She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’  Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’” (John 20:13-15 ESV).

Just imagine!  Jesus is speaking to Mary, yet she does not recognize Him.  Certainly, she does not even consider the possibility, seeing as He is supposed to be lying in the tomb.  She did not expect to see Jesus.  Like Mary Magdalene, we do not always expect extraordinary miracles to occur.  It’s almost as if we set our expectations too low.  We pray, yet do we really believe that God can heal someone who is battling cancer, provide deliverance for a hard core drug addict, or even raise someone from the dead?  When we pray, we need to remember that God is the one true and living God.  There is no problem that He cannot handle because He holds every solution.  God can do anything but fail.

God knew all along that Jesus would miraculously rise again on the third day.  He knew that His only Son must endure pain and suffering for a season and then emerge victorious.  Why?  So that you and I could receive the gift of eternal life.  This is what Easter is all about.  Why then, should Easter only be celebrated one day a year?  Jesus died for us and wants to live in our hearts forever, not just one Sunday each spring.  He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him, trusting Him, leaning on Him, and loving Him.  Jesus loves you 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  He has never stopped loving you and He will never stop loving you.

Have you asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life?  Do you have the assurance that you will live eternally?  If you have not done so, I want to encourage you to make this the moment when you put your trust in the God who created you.  Have faith in the God who gave His only Son just to give you the gift of eternal life.  Cling to the God who holds you in His heart and loves you more than you could ever imagine.  Begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus loves you with a fervent love that has no end.  He wants you to live a joyous life filled with His enduring love, mercy, and grace.

Easter is a celebration of life, the Resurrected life of Christ and the Resurrected life of all who believe.  Life is something that should be celebrated every day, not just once a year.  This year, celebrate life.  Celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.  God does not want you to live a life overshadowed by sorrow, pain, or fear.  He wants you to live a life that is full of abundant joy, absolute love, and steadfast hope for a bright future in Heaven with Him.  This year, as you enjoy the chocolate bunnies, colorful decorations, and delicious dinners, remember to focus on the reason for this season: Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In Christ's Love,