I love Easter because it’s the most important day in the Christian calendar. And I’m wrapping Good Friday, the day Christ died, under the label of Easter as well.
The reason it is the most important day for Christians, is that the power and trustworthiness of the gospel hinges on what happened at Easter! Paul put its importance this way:
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
In fact, Paul goes on to say this about the importance of the resurrection;
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.” 1 Corinthians 15:13-15
Remembering to remember
So, as fathers, mothers, mentors and leaders, how can we remind ourselves and others of the importance of Easter in our lives, year round? I’d recommend you put a date on your calendar right now, to reflect deeply on the meaning of Easter, at least once every three months. On each of those dates, I’d suggest doing the following:
Read the story of the crucifixion in John 19 and 20, slowly, as if for the first time. Ask God to reveal anything he wants you to understand in a new and fresh way.
Remind yourself that Jesus died and rose for you! It’s too easy to celebrate Easter, like we do Christmas and not see its importance for you personally. As I’m reading the crucifixion story, I try to imagine only two people present. Jesus and me. Christ died for you!
Remember your sins. Sin is out of vogue today. People have issues, diseases, shortcomings, faults and dysfunctions, not sins. That’s true, but the Bible also calls them sins! Therefore, they are an affront to a holy God. Take an extended time to confess, both your sins to God, and your gratitude for his forgiveness.Remind yourself of this core truth of the gospel; without understanding the gravity of our sin, there is no need for a Savior!
“Give Easter away.” If the power of Easter is the forgiveness of your sins by faith in the death and resurrection of Christ for you personally, then forgive as you’ve been forgiven. Give forgiveness away today. Forgive someone for a past offense against you, right now.Jesus died on the cross, “while we were yet sinners.” He didn’t expect us to be sorry for our sins, before he forgave us. When you forgive others, do it because you have been forgiven, not because they’ve asked you to forgive them. Just do it. Simply forgive and let it go.I’d also recommend you never tell the person that you’ve forgiven them. Most of the people I have forgiven, didn’t believe they did anything wrong in the first place and it just grinds me when they add insult to injury by making excuses. In any case, this forgiveness is primarily between you and Jesus – you dying to your hardened heart toward someone. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
Keep a reminder handy. Finally, for years, I kept a large nail on my desk at the office, to remind me of Christ’s death for me. I’ll often hold it as I pray to personalize the crucifixion. One of the problems with the “old, old story” is that it gets so familiar, it loses its impact to drive us to our knees in gratitude for Christ’s sacrificial love for us. Do what ever it takes to make sure that never happens to you or your family.
How following Jesus works in real life.
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