Somewhere between Good Friday and Easter morning is a place of quite anticipation. While we have moved past the remembrance of Jesus’ horrible crucifixion, there is a feeling that lingers delicately in the air, or is it lurking in the depths of our hearts? Is it the familiar sense that something was about to happen? Or is it simply the lazy Saturday morning blues that comes between events? Good Friday events were filled with worship and fellowship, pot lucks and wonderful conversation! But what of Saturday, is it that strange anticipation of some impossible event? What event? After all, Jesus resurrected from the dead some two thousand years ago! Is it there because of a hole in our faith? Was it something that someone said? Someone who we believed knows the truth? We lean in and listen, hanging on every word… “There it is! Did you catch what he said? Did you understand it?” A shred of doubt enters our heart. A word that entertains our intellect, yet tests our faith. Did we not truly understand the word we’ve been taught from our youth? Did we miss something? And now we sit and wonder…If what was said is true…am I not truly saved? We struggle in the depths of our soul! Did I not believe correctly? This is the question that is swimming around and around in our minds!
Several years ago I attended a conference that was hosted by the team of an archeologist that had passed away some years earlier. This team maintained a museum dedicated to this man’s life’s work. In his career he had claimed to have discovered many of the more sought after biblical archeological prizes. Finds that were wholly unsubstantiated, yet intriguing to read about! Claiming credit for discovering such great finds as, Noah’s Ark, the actual location of the doomed city of Sodom, the exact location of Mt. Sinai, and The Ark of the Covenant, also called The Ark of Testimony, The Ark of God, The Ark of the Lord and The Ark of God’s Strength. He claimed to have lost all evidence of this incredible find but described the chamber as housing many of the Temple artifacts, including The Ark of God. At this juncture of the seminar, the speaker began to talk about the many pagan rituals Christians take part in, mostly out of ignorance of God’s Word! I can clearly remember the stress I began to feel as he talked on. As some began to leave the seminar, I was spellbound by what this man was teaching. I began to feel sick in my soul, and angry at what was being said, yet at the same time, wondering if possibly I had missed something! I can remember just how I felt as he continued to repeat the words; “I was stunned!” as he would talk about how he, along with most Christians were deceived into worshiping pagan idols, and therefore were not Christians at all! He claimed that if we were to have anything at all to do with the celebrations of either Easter or Christmas, we were in fact, worshiping pagan gods and goddesses!
Easter has always had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival. It was co-opted by Christian missionaries starting in the second century A.D. The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre.
The date of December 25th probably originated with the ancient “birthday” of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence became widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries A.D. Mithra was related to the Semitic sun-god, Shamash, and his worship spread throughout Asia to Europe where he was called Deus Sol Invictus Mithras.
I could not believe what he was saying, yet I felt challenged in my belief! Leaving that seminar left me struggling in my mind and soul. How could I be guilty of worshiping pagan gods and goddesses that I had never even heard of? I knew that I had great faith in God! I hungered for the things of God, and I believed that I worshiped no other! It was Jesus that died and was resurrected from death that I might have eternal life with Him! How could I have worshiped any other? I was, as they say, wrestling with the devil! Well, to my great relief, God came to my rescue! He led me to a passage of scripture and confirmed in me that I had, and should…no, must only worship Him! He revealed truth to me in the book of Romans;
Romans 14:1-5 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
This begs the question; what was the truth in which I was fully convinced of? As a child, I was not a Christian. However, every year my family enjoyed celebrating Easter, Easter eggs and all! And as a small child I also included the Easter bunny as part of the fun. But as I looked back and recalled what I knew and believed of the Easter holiday, well, just this; Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead! That’s exactly what I have always believed about Easter! The same was also true for Christmas. All of my unsaved childhood, I believed that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ! Santa Claus was only the clown who showed up at the birthday party for Jesus! No pagan gods or goddesses, just Jesus! Born, died and was resurrected from the dead! That is what I am fully convinced of in my own mind!
As you enjoy the Easter holiday with your family, recall what you believe, and possibly have always believed. If you have always known that Jesus was crucified, buried in a tomb, and on the third day was resurrected from the dead, then you know whose life you are celebrating! But do you fully understand why Jesus Christ died on a cross? Do you understand the amazing significance of His resurrection? If not, then I encourage you to consider this; Jesus died on the cross in our place. We have all been born under the curse of sin which separates us from God. Only God could pay the price sin demands, death! By His resurrection we can be free from sin and death! Jesus paid the price that we may have eternal life with Him! Consider the following scriptures…
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
I pray you and your families have a wonderful Easter celebration! Should you have questions regarding this post, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would be delighted to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.