Mar 27, 2007

The meaning of Easter: Reasoning about the resurrection

by Kari Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief
As I have grown up, one of my favorite memories has always been Easter Sunday. I loved going shopping for a new Easter dress to wear to church. I loved coloring Easter eggs with my younger brother and opening the Easter baskets from our parents. We would even have an Easter egg hunt at my grandmother’s house. It was a race between my brother and I to see who could find the most plastic eggs with the dollar bills hidden inside (we weren’t big on candy).  These traditions, along with the Easter bunny, are what most people associate with the religious holiday. And while my family did partake in these secular activities, my absolute favorite tradition is Sunrise Service.

I attend a small, white country church that was built in 1895. Inside are pews lined with hymnals and beautiful glass windows. Attendance is small, under 100. Every Easter, the congregation meets in the cemetery behind the church just before sunrise. My pastor plays guitar and we sing songs like “Up from the Grave He Arose” and “He Lives.” There is just something so special about standing in the graveyard and worshipping as the sun rises above the trees. I can only imagine what Mary felt at the tomb, having seen the real risen Son.   
    
This is what Easter is all about – the risen Son. Over the years, there have been several claims that have tried to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Last year, it was the Da Vinci Code. This year, it is the Lost Tomb of Jesus. These attacks are an attempt to strip Christians of their faith by denying the one thing that their faith is founded on – the resurrection. This one event is the core of Christianity. Dr. Ed Hindson emphasized this point in convocation last Wednesday.

Take a look at scripture. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
 
Did you actually take the time to read through those verses? Or did you see the reference and skim because you are already familiar with the passages? It’s just something to think about. Here’s another thing to think about. What if God never gave His Son? What if he didn’t die on a cross and resurrect three days later? All we would have left would be words on a page and meaningless religion.

Go back to the above verses and read them carefully, word-for-word. Allow the power of scripture to overwhelm you and ignite in you a passion to tell the world about the Savior who has come to give us everlasting life!

There are many who don’t know this Savior. They are searching for answers, and the enemy is telling them lies. It is our responsibility as Christians to take this attack seriously and share the gospel, the Truth, with those who are seeking. I Peter 3:15 says to be ready to give an account to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. In other words, I must always be prepared to share my testimony and rebut the false accusations of those who come against my faith.  

In order to be an effective witness, I must know why I believe what I believe. This was the topic of Dr. Ergun Caner’s message in church on Wednesday night. “Because I said so” is not a satisfying argument for someone who is searching for answers. I don’t recommend starting a conversation with a skeptic with the phrase, “The Bible says…” because the argument is rarely convincing to someone who doesn’t believe its contents. As Caner said, this is circular reasoning.

Honestly, I used to not care. It was a legitimate argument to me. The Bible is true, and whether or not someone chooses to believe it does not make the Bible any less true. True. But that mindset was before I was given a burden for the lost and an understanding of my responsibility as a Christ follower. If you truly want to reach out to those who are struggling or who are asking the tough questions, you would meet them at their level, not make them rise to yours. Remember, scripture is important when sharing the gospel, but it’s the Holy Spirit’s anointing that changes hearts. You can’t just throw words of the Bible in people’s faces and expect them to accept and believe it.      

Christ wants us to be obedient and faithful in sharing the Truth. The truth is that Jesus is the risen Savior and His body is not in that “lost tomb.” It’s almost Easter. Take the time to reflect on the importance of the Resurrection Believe this Truth and know why you believe it. Then passionately share it with others. Share it with everyone.  

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