Apologizing for Easter

By Jason K. Lee

Wouldn’t it be easier if Easter was just about the Easter Bunny? I mean who could oppose a good egg hunt with dozens of kids looking for the most obviously hidden objects? (By the way, didn’t Easter egg hunts used to be more challenging? Didn’t parents used to hide the eggs so well you didn’t find some of them until they begin to rot a few weeks later?)

Back to the point, who could oppose all those delicious Easter treats, especially now that those wonderful Cadbury eggs have made their trans-Atlantic flight?

Yes, Easter might be easier and less controversial if it were just about the chocolate bunnies, but like those bunnies, it would be empty and hollow.

The reason people oppose the celebration of Easter is that they oppose the central truth of Easter: the resurrection of Jesus. Opposition to the message of the resurrection is not a new phenomenon. The Apostle Paul was ridiculed because he preached about the resurrection. He also was imprisoned because of the resurrection. He was put on trial because of the resurrection. (Acts 23:6, 24:21)

Why did Paul keep preaching about the resurrection even though he had to face ridicule, beatings, stonings, and imprisonment? He said the resurrection was the hope of the Bible. He said the resurrection fulfilled the promises God had made in the Old Testament. He was even amazed someone could read the Bible and not see that a belief in the resurrection was necessary for a relationship with God (Acts 26:8, 23). He also said that without the truth of the resurrection, the Bible and the Christian faith are worthless (1 Cor. 15:12-19).

The Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament) teaches that the Christ (Messiah) would suffer and die for our sins and that He would be raised on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). The Bible also teaches that because of Christ’s resurrection, all humans, the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 24:15), will be raised to faced judgment. Only those who have believed in and trusted their lives to the resurrected Jesus will be saved from that judgment.

Yes, it is true that sharing the message of the resurrection of Christ and our coming resurrection to judgment is not as easy as Easter candy, but it is infinitely sweeter. Here are three thoughts that stem from the truth that Christ has been raised from the dead and that we will be raised to meet Him.

(1) Because Christ fulfilled the Old Testament promises through His resurrection from the dead, we must prepare for our own resurrection by repenting and believing in Christ.

(2) We must be willing to face persecution for the sake of this message of resurrection, which is the only of hope for those who have heard this gospel message and have despised it, as well as for those who have never heard it. Let’s continue the work of the believers in Acts.

(3) Rejoice in the Lord who raises the dead! “O praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!” 

Published May 30, 2018

Jason K. Lee

Dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies Professor of Theological Studies Cedarville University