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Apr 20 2014

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What does Easter mean to you?

“It’s not about the Easter Bunny or getting candy and presents,” says Kendall, age 11. “Jesus died for our sins and for us so we could be saved.”

Here’s the scoop from Hannah, 9: “Easter is really a pagan holiday with all the bunnies and chicks. If you celebrate in the right way about Jesus, it is a good holiday. Easter is named after a pagan god.”

Great job, Hannah! Your parents are doing a lot more than hiding Easter eggs. The word “Easter” is derived from the

Anglo-Saxon “Eostre,” the name of the goddess of spring, writes scholar D.W. Burdick. The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival in honor of the goddess of spring and her symbol, the rabbit.

In many cultures, the egg was the symbol of rebirth. The custom of exchanging eggs in springtime was already in place when second-century Christian missionaries encountered Saxon tribes in northern Germany.

The pagan festival was altered to become a Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

Easter is a time to “celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, and a day to remember his pain and suffering,” says Ama.

Not only do we remember the past, but Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope that our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal ones. But that’s not all. Christians are exhorted in Scripture to live by the power of Jesus’ resurrection or newness of life by the Spirit of Jesus (Holy Spirit) living in and through them.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then the faith of Christians is “useless” and “pitiful,” wrote the Apostle Paul. If there’s no resurrection, he told Christians in Corinth, live only for today: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (I Corinthians 15:32).

But if Jesus rose from the dead, every day is resurrection day for Amanda, 11: “He is always with us.” “Easter means God has risen from the dead and was walking around the city and went to talk to the disciples and went back to heaven,” says Marce, 11.

Remember the disciples before the resurrection?

Scared, scattered and stressed. Three times Peter denied he even knew Jesus.

After seeing the resurrected Christ, all of the disciples dedicated their lives to proclaiming Jesus’ victory over death. Most died as martyrs. Why would the disciples risk persecution and death to perpetuate a hoax?

“Easter means the death of Christ for our sins so we could go to heaven because one perfect person had to die for sinners to go to heaven,” says Anna, 11.

We like to imagine that God grades on the curve. As long as we’re better than most, we assume heaven’s gates will open wide for us. Nice theory, but God’s entrance exam for heaven is either pass or fail.

Jesus is the only one who passed the test. He lived a perfect life before his Father and people. He offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for imperfect people. Now, the resurrected Jesus offers his righteousness and life to all who trust him as their savior.

Don’t substitute sucking candy eggs and chasing rabbits for a risen savior.

“Jesus is alive!” shouts Kayce, 9. Think about this: Jesus is alive and indwelling his people. Memorize this truth: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a).

Ask these questions: Have you entered into the realm of resurrection life by believing in Jesus? Do you know the exhilaration of living by Jesus’ life instead of your own?

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