Saturday, April 23, 2011

Considering Easter's importance

Tomorrow, Christians worldwide will observe the Easter holiday, and it is impossible to overstate the importance of this day.

Easter commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus that Christians believe took place following His crucifixion. As a society, we do not put as much emphasis on this holiday when compared to others, and that is a big mistake.

After all, without the Resurrection, Christianity would simply be another false religion. I know that seems like harsh language, but it is the truth. Jesus said He would rise, and if that had not happened, He would have been just another false prophet who did not deliver on what was promised.

Of course, Christians believe the Resurrection took place, and billions of people will commemorate this event Sunday.

It is a shame that Easter does not get the build up that Christmas does. I know the tone of the two days is totally different, but in general, there appears to be more anticipation for Christmas by our society.

As soon as Thanksgiving ends, all eyes turn toward Christmas, and the mood of our nation changes. Admittedly, Christmas has been exploited in ways that has nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus. Still, there always seems to be more buzz about that day than Easter.

Perhaps part of the reason for this is how Christians approach Easter. After all, not all people calling themselves Christians agree on how the Resurrection took place. While most would agree that Jesus physically rose from the dead, there are others who believe that it was only a spiritual event.

The Bible clearly supports that Jesus physically rose, but others still disagree. If Christians cannot agree on a point as fundamental as this, should we be surprised the holiday does not get the treatment it deserves?

Still, it is important that the Resurrection be focused upon tomorrow. It is the pivotal event of Christianity. Without it, there would be nothing.

Perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence that supports the Resurrection took place was the behavior of those closest to Jesus. Despite claims that they would never leave His side, the disciples ran when the Roman authorities arrested Him.

Peter went as far as to deny Him three times. This was a tremendous personal failure for Peter, but we should not be too hard on him. After all, we have all made big mistakes, but we are lucky that they were not recorded in the best selling book of all time. So, think twice before criticizing him too harshly.

When Jesus was crucified, the disciples were at rock bottom. They were hiding from the Roman authorities and the religious establishment. Because of their association with Jesus, they were afraid for their lives. Life looked bleak for them.

However, compare their behavior at this point to what it was only a few days later. Instead of staying in hiding, they began to boldly go into the public and proclaim the Gospel.

What could have caused such a stunning turnaround in only a few days? Christians believe it was their encounter with the resurrected Jesus.

When they encountered Jesus, all His teachings were cemented in their hearts. The hurt, pain, and fear that had been there only a few days earlier had been replaced by hope.

When the disciples went out to spread the Gospel, they understood they would face hardship and persecution. The reason they were able to do this is because they knew what they were preaching was true.

Remember, people won't willingly go out and risk their lives for something they know to be a lie (unless they are mentally disturbed).

Jesus had transformed them. And He can do the same for all of us.

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