Every year this time of the month is the celebration of Easter. Everyone knows it and everyone expects it. But the unanswered question is, do we really understand the significance of Easter or has the idea of ‘Easter Bunnies’ stolen every significance? In this combined article, we want to highlight on the significance of the Easter celebration in relation to you as an individual person, to the church, and to the home.
What is Easter
In order to understand the significant of Easter in relation to you an individual person, to the church and to the home, it is helpful to borrow some principles from how the Israelites (God’s Old Covenant people) used to celebrate Passover (feast of unleavened bread) in the Old Testament in their homes/families. The Israelites gathered as families as the Lord has commanded them to celebrate the Passover (Exodus. 12:1–28; 34:18). In celebrating this feast, they remind themselves about who God was to Israel nation and about what He has done for them – redeemed and delivered them from slavery of the Egyptians. The reminder serves to motivate them to renew their commitment to their covenant relationship with God and to worship God as individuals and as families, worshiping God for who He is and for what He has done for them. They also used that opportunity to explain the meaning of the Passover feast to their children and to other people (Exodus. 12:24-27). The deliverance of Israel from the slavery that Passover feast celebrates was a shadow pointing to the great deliverance (that we celebrate at Easter) which was to come through Christ – deliverance from the bondage, penalty of sin through Christ (John. 8:31-36; Rom. 6:16; 8:2; Gal. 5:1). We Christian (God’s New Covenant people) celebrate Easter with our spiritual family (fellow Christians) in remembrance of what God has done for us in Christ. In celebrating Easter, we are celebrating the greatest deliverance; we are remembering how God has delivered us from the bondage of sin, and redeemed us from death and hell through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:1-19; Luke. 22:7–20).
Easter and me
Easter is not just an important date on the Christian calendar but it is a reminder of the most important events (death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) in human history. Peter in his Sermon in the second chapter of Acts, talks about the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, verses 32-36 Summarizes that well. Some of the people who heard the message were cut to the heart, and they asked what should we do? Peter told them to repent. And also in John 3:16, John says believe in response to the same message. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are not just a historical records, but it is a message to which we must respond. It is not good enough to simply just remember it, or have celebration about it or go on holiday, but we must respond to it in repentance and faith. If your ignore the message of Easter you doomed to eternal condemnation, because God is angry with you because of your sins. You are in danger if you don’t respond to this message, you need to respond. If you are a Christian continue to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, but also continue to live a life of utter obedience and sacrifice to him (Romans 12:1-2). You must live as one who has experienced the newness of life, your life is changed (1 Peter 1:3). You must live for Christ and him alone and seek to bring him glory in all you do (Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:20-21, 3:7-11).
Easter and the church
As it has been clearly emphasized, at the center of the Easter celebration is the person and work of Christ. Without Christ, Easter becomes meaningless. Following the greatest work that Christ has done (recreating a sinful, rebellious and lost human into a righteous, submissive and saved man and right with God) is the reality of the church. The church is not merely a loving human gathering. It’s foundation and purpose is actually rooted in Easter, in what Christ has accomplished. There are four things that I would love to highlight that I think best highlight the significance of Easter and the church. Firstly, just like the Israelites were required at Passover to humble themselves and reverently remember the power of God even as they are now in Canaan, likewise, the body of believers are to humble themselves and remember their great deliverance from sin. Instead of asking for blessings and supplications, this time should be filled with songs and prayers of praises and thanksgiving. The song of Moses should be our song (Exodus 15:1-18). Secondly, Easter is to assure the church of its victory. Not only did Christ the head of the church promise that he will build his church and nothing will stand against it (Matthew 16:18), He was also victorious and today he lives reigning. Thus in the midst of suffering that the church faces, especially when we think of those in areas were persecution is frequent, the church remains victorious. Nothing shall ever separate us from the love of God (Romans 8). For if God is for us, what shall be against us? Nothing and none!!! Thirdly, Easter is to help us run together. Christ made us into one body and brought peace and unity between us (Ephesians 2:11-22). We are thus to maintain the peace and unity that Christ has already established (Ephesians 4:3). Is the peace of Christ reigning amongst us? This peace leads to the peace between brother and brother , and between sister and brother. We are also to purge sin from our midst and never to entertain it. Since Christ has been crucified because of sin (1 Corinthians 5:7), should we still play with that which our Savior dead for? Surely not! Besides personal purity, we must strive for corporate purity (Hebrews 3:12-14). So Easter should cause us to examine ourselves as a body to see if we are still in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Easter should cause us to be in a life of service to one another. Finally, Easter should cause us to be witnesses. Like the believers at Antioch who were called Christians because they looked like Christ who was crucified (Acts 11:26), we to must be called Christians by the watching world. Our lives and message must more and more reflect Christ. This is the reality of Easter and the church.
Easter and the home
With this understanding, what should be the meaning and the function of Easter in Christian homes? We can use Easter in the following three ways: First, Easter is a good time to remind ourselves as Christian families of what God has done for us through Christ; this reminder should melt our hearts as individuals and as Christian families to repentance and encourage us to persevere in living for Christ who has died and risen for us (2 Cor. 5:14-15; Heb. 12:1–3). Second, Easter ought to revive our family worship/devotion, and remind us Christians to fulfill our responsibilities in Christian homes. Remembering Christ and His saving work should cause us to make resolution like Joshua who said “… but for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” who has done all these for us (Joshua 24:1-15). By the enablement of the Holy Spirit and for God’s glory, Easter should once again call “husbands to love their wives as Christ love the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”; Easter should call wives to submit to their husbands in the Lord as the church submits to Christ. Easter should call children to obey their parents in the Lord for this is right. It should also call parents and guardians to train their children in godliness (Eph. 5:22–4). Finally, Easter is also the right season for Christians to share the gospel with our families by explaining the meaning of Easter to our children, to other family members, and to other people (Luke. 22:7–20). We are to tell them about the person of Christ and about His saving work of salvation – His incarnation, perfect life, suffering, cruel sacrificial death and resurrection and its significant. We are to tell them how they can be saved from sin and from hell through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:12–18, 35, 36; Isaiah. 53; Acts. 2:36-42). This ought to be the meaning and function of Easter in the Christian homes.