WHAT IS EASTER?
Easter is very important for every follower of Jesus. Though the accurate dating of Easter and the pagan rituals associated with its celebration are highly disagreed upon and controversial, these are not the most important things. The most important part of Easter is this – that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. Easter is about one thing, and one thing only: Jesus' victory on the cross! It is what the Old Testament prophets prophesied for the future: "The fact is, it was our suffering he took on himself; he bore our pain. But we thought that God was punishing him, that God was beating him for something he did. But he was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of his pain. We had all wandered away like sheep. We had gone our own way. And yet the Lord put all our guilt on him” (Isaiah 53: 4-6). Though He was God himself incarnate, He still came to this Earth, born as a weak, helpless baby, so that He could live among us, and though He himself was without sin, to ultimately take up our sins and die for all of humanity. The Bible teaches us that the consequences of sin is death, and that everyone has sinned and that we all fall short of the glory of God. “God makes people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. He does this for all who believe in Christ. Everyone is the same. All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by his grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. God gave Jesus as a way to forgive people’s sins through their faith in him. God can forgive them because the blood sacrifice of Jesus pays for their sins. God gave Jesus to show that he always does what is right and fair. He was right in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. And in our own time he still does what is right. God worked all this out in a way that allows him to judge people fairly and still make right any person who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3: 22-26). If it wasn’t for Jesus’ sacrifice, we would all be condemned to death, but God had mercy on us, and died in our place so that we would be granted the gift of salvation- a gift of grace, given freely to all who believe. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2: 8-9). Grace is something that we cannot earn. A person is unable to buy their way out of their sins, by the good works or religious activities they do; this can only be done by the blood of Jesus, the blood that was shed for us. This is the best news that anyone will ever hear, and of course the most important celebration for all of man- kind!
The real meaning of Easter has nothing to do with Easter eggs or their decorating or painting, or even bunnies and other traditional rituals. Traditions in themselves are not a bad thing, and a Christian will not be punished for decorating an egg or buying someone a chocolate bunny as a present, as long as these things do not overshadow the true meaning of the Easter celebration. After all, if Easter has become all about our beautiful traditions, then we are simply celebrating something else, rather than the resurrection and victory of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We invite and urge everyone to celebrate the true meaning of Easter together, and to share the Good News with those around us. I pray that we would be creative in our methods of sharing the Gospel, simply proclaiming that Jesus overcame our sins, saved us and set us free from death, guilt and the hold of sin on our lives. "“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin” Romans 4: 7-8).
Jesus rose from the grave, and we too have been raised to life alongside Him!
We invite you all to celebrate Easter with us together. We are waiting for you at the Lithuanian Christian Church on April 21, 11:00.
After the service, we will be enjoying a lovely meal together, so please, do not forget to bring something with you from the list below, based on the first letter of your surname:
A-J- salads + fruits
K-O- sweets/ biscuits/ cakes + soft drinks
P-Z- sandwiches / meat or fish finger foods