Thursday, April 17, 2014

No More Bunnies

With Easter Sunday, coming up I have been thinking a lot about what Jesus had to go through.   I want to mention again that I believe Christians should talk about it all year, not just at Easter time, but I think it is good to have a day set where we give Jesus special honor.  Each year that goes by, I really want less and less to celebrate the holiday in the way my family has traditionally celebrated, with baskets, candy, and a chocolate bunny.  I feel that it is disrespectful to Jesus. For a Christian to celebrate in the same way as a non-Christian just seems wrong to me.  If you are not a Christian, I have no problem with you celebrating any way you want.  I don't want to get legalistic and create rules about how to celebrate Easter, but for someone who has given their life to Jesus, to celebrate the weekend He went to hell and rose again by eating chocolate bunnies doesn't rest well in my heart.  I think that each person must really search their heart and pray about this for themselves.  I really struggle with it because my family has always looked forward to a basket of goodies, so in the past years I have given in to this tradition. I need to figure out a new way to celebrate.

I have been reading the passages of the death and resurrection to my kids and it really has gotten to me in the past few days.  Mark 14-16 is what I read to them, but basically if you read the last 3-4 books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, you will get the story.  

In one of those strange God coincidences, yesterday when I read to my kids, we really focused on His prayer in the garden before he was arrested.  Then, at church last night, the pastor talked about that very thing.  There are so many aspects of the entire story that he could have mentioned last night, so for him to mention that, I believe, really shows that God wanted to emphasize that part of the story.  Jesus was a man.  He was God and he was man. When Jesus prayed, he asked God if there was any other way to do what needed to be done.  He agonized about what was about to happen.  He prayed for God to take this burden from him, yet still yielded to God's plan.  I would have been terrified to go through what he went through.  I had an anxiety attack before I went into the O.R. for the C-section of my youngest child.  I knew what was coming and I was scared.  That was just for the birth of my child.  I didn't have to be tortured and beaten like Jesus was. I can't imagine what Jesus must have been going through before he was arrested and the night began to unfold.  Jesus had emotions.  He loved to visit his friends and have fun feasts, he got sad when his friend Lazarus died, he had compassion for those who were sick and hurting.  He must have been so scared.  

Today when I was reading chapters 15-16, I realized something. Jesus probably wasn't afraid of being beaten and killed.  I think it was horrible what He went through, but he suffered through all of that silently.  The only time he cried out is when he was separated from the Father.  

34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”Mark 15:34

My personal belief is that Jesus was terrified because he knew he would have to spend time away from the Father.  He would have to go into hell by himself and battle the real enemy.  The horrible things that the Roman guards did were nothing compared to what he would have to experience in the two days after his death.  He had to feel the weight of every sin that was ever committed in the world and he took the punishment for each and every one.  That is why Jesus cried out in the garden for God to find a different way to save us.  But there was no other way.  Jesus let himself be the sacrifice to cleanse us from a lifetime of sin.  

Don't let his death be for nothing! Live your life to honor His death and the time he spent in HELL for YOU and ME. Don't be ashamed to talk about what He has done in your life. 

I know this is a really heavy blog post.  It has been really heavy on my heart and I think it needed to be talked about.  I really would like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Share something that Jesus has done for you personally in your life.  Honor Him! I also would like to hear ideas for Easter traditions that point to Jesus instead of the Easter Bunny.  Ok, its your turn: GO!

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