Easter celebrations from my childhood were all about family. We started the day out in church together, then would enjoy a meal together, sometimes at my grandparents’ home.
I didn’t mind the frilly dresses and lace socks too much, but there were times that they did itch.
After lunch, of course, we posed with Easter baskets and would find the eggs which had been hidden. Some years we would meet at a park convenient to most of us and all the kids would hunt eggs together. Always seemed like there was at least one egg that was never found.
As the years went on there were more plastic eggs to hide for convenience I suppose. Plus, there were just too many boiled eggs for us to eat. Stains from dying could stay on your fingers for weeks to remind you of all the fun.
As I got older, I began attending sunrise services. There’s just something moving about watching the sun rise over the cross. It reminds you that if you believe in Christ, life is eternal.
One year, we had a sunrise service at our house with the kids, grandkids and my parents. That is one of my favorites. David presided over the service and then we had breakfast afterwards.
It’s a shame families don’t take as much time for get-togethers as they used to do. It’s kind of taken a back seat and we stay too busy doing this or that; things which don’t matter as much.
In reality, Easter isn’t about the chocolate, the bunnies, the eggs or spending time with family. It’s about Christ’s death and resurrection which provides our hope. Studying Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, we can find valuable lessons to take away and keep in our hearts.
Christ’s death was necessary. It makes me cry thinking about the torture and the pain He endured for me. Something I certainly didn’t deserve but He thought I was deserving. Had it not been for the cross, we were condemned to hell. The cross was the only way that we could ever be right with God. He paid the price for our sins so we didn’t have to pay for them.
Jesus was mocked and scorned, even on the cross. We all have a sin nature. Some people think they are good enough and don’t need the salvation Jesus gave us on the cross. From the cross we see that even with knowledge of what the cross meant for us, not everyone will accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
No matter how far in sin you’ve gone, the cross teaches that all are redeemable. Even the thief on the cross who knew he deserved his punishment but Jesus did not.
The thief had come to the end of himself and realized Jesus could provide salvation. Jesus saw the man’s heart and that what he said was genuine. Sometimes people have to come to the end of themselves to accept Christ.
Christ’s death on the cross teaches we can go straight to the Father; He’s open and accessible to us. Before that the priest would go into the temple once a year and present a burnt offering for the sins of the people.
The veil of the temple tore in two at His death, opening the way since Christ atoned for our sins, for us to enter into the most holy place for ourselves. A human mediator was no longer needed.
Not only did the thief give his life to Christ, one of the Roman soldiers who was standing at the foot of the cross, realized that Jesus was who He claimed to be. There is always room for more.
Jesus on the cross, teaches us to forgive those who hurt us; don’t remain a victim by holding grudges.
He teaches us to reach out to others and to take care of the people who depend on you. No matter what we are going through, we shouldn’t be blind to the needs of those around us or expect others to suffer because we are suffering.
From the cross and Jesus’ words, we learn that we should direct the hard questions to God. Jesus asked the Father, why He had forsaken Him. When we question why, God is the only one who can pour healing into your heart and help you make sense of things.
On the cross, Christ acknowledged His humanity and we should too. He said He was “thirsty”. No matter how strong we think we are, there are times when we are not self sufficient and need help from others. Needing help and asking for it, is a lesson in humility.
We can’t add anything to Christ’s death on the cross. It covered every sin, from the cradle to the grave. It was finished then and there.
There are some people and even some seasons in our lives when struggles seem to be never ending. We can have peace in all situations when we commit the outcome to God, just as Jesus said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” in Luke 23-46.
This was an act of trust meaning he was surrendering control to the Father It wasn’t a defeat, his work was finally completed.
But before Jesus could turn it over to God, he had to pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done,” in Luke 23:42. When we get to that point, we have sweet, sweet peace and freedom.
The cross calls us to come to Jesus, yes, but it is also calling us into a way of life, to let God have his way in everything. I do not understand those people who are not humbled and brought to tears when they consider the cross. Yes thinking about Christ on the cross pains me, but oh it brings me so much joy and peace. When you understand it and ask God into your life, the peace is immeasurable.
Enjoy your Easter celebrations and pause at least for a while, to consider the cross and all it means. ©2019
VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org