The story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection will pique the curiosity of spiritual seekers this Easter season. The question for Jesus’ followers is how to make the most of the opportunity. How can we help people who know little more than the basics of the Easter story understand why we celebrate Easter? Here are three ideas to get you started.
We Start in the Book of Exodus
In order to convince Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to release the Hebrew people from slavery, God sent 10 plagues on Egypt. The tenth and final plague was the death of every firstborn child. The only way for people to escape the plague was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes. When the angel of death saw the blood of the lamb, it passed over that household. The event came to be known and celebrated as Passover.
Some 1,500 years later, God’s plan of salvation for the human race was unveiled—and it echoed the Passover in Exodus. The key to salvation was the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb—in this case, a perfect representative of the human race. The only way to escape the punishment of death for our sins was to figuratively cover ourselves with the blood of the sacrificial lamb.
We Emphasize That There Was No Other Way
To people who are unfamiliar with the Bible story, the crucifixion may seem like the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment. They wonder, how could a loving God allow His Son to suffer like that?
The best place to start addressing those concerns is John 14:6. That’s where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There is no boast or pride in Jesus’ words. He is helping the world understand that only He can bridge the separation between God and humankind.
Sin created the separation. According to God’s plan, only a perfect sacrifice can pay the penalty for sin. But no human has ever been perfect, so God sent His only Son to take on human form and live a sinless life in order to become that sacrifice. Only Jesus’ sacrifice could satisfy God’s perfect justice and holiness. So the way to the Father spoken of in John 14:6 passed through the cross and the tomb.
Only Jesus was able to conquer sin by living an unblemished life. Only Jesus was able to conquer death by emerging from the tomb.
How to Celebrate Easter
With so many profound spiritual truths to celebrate, we run the risk of confusing spiritual seekers by including something as frivolous as an imaginary bunny in our Easter traditions. The good news is that profound spiritual truths don’t always have to be celebrated in profound ways. You can have Easter fun with your kids while you focus on spiritual truths.
- Easter eggs, in the Christian tradition, represent Jesus emerging from the tomb—just as a bird emerges from an egg. You can make that connection more obvious by decorating eggs to reflect the biblical narrative. One person might paint a stick-figure scene of Jesus’ followers at His empty tomb. Others might paint the words “He is risen!” “Alive!” and “Rejoice!” on their eggs.
- You could plan an unconventional Easter egg hunt. Instead of filling plastic eggs with candy and prizes, fill all but one with cotton balls. Leave the last egg empty to represent Jesus’ empty tomb. The person who finds the empty egg gets a prize. After each hunt, you can switch the eggs and do another one. Afterward, talk about the women who found Jesus’ tomb empty (Mark 16:1–11).
- You could start a tradition of waking up at dawn for an Easter Sunday breakfast. You could use Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” as a wake-up device. Despite the earliness of the hour, foster an atmosphere of joy as you celebrate Jesus’ resurrection together.
- Have a contest to see which of your family members can come up with the most creative way to announce, “He is risen!” For example, one of you might fly an indoor drone, trailing a toilet-paper banner with the words written on it. Another might hang a banner from the staircase. Another might write the words in chalk on your driveway.
Help your family understand that profound doesn’t necessarily mean solemn.
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