For Christ followers around the world, Easter week is the most anticipated and sacred week of the year. It is our time to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made for us and to remember the tremendous cost of this gift of salvation He gave us. For so many among our circles of people, though, Easter has a different meaning altogether, or no meaning at all. It is difficult for some to see past the plastic eggs, Easter bunny photos, retail mania, and sugar overload to find any kind of deep meaning in the day. Easter is not about bunnies and eggs. Instead, it is about the Lamb. It is up to us, the redeemed, to show them the miraculous love that Easter really represents. For many of us, this may be difficult or overwhelming. Anyone who hasn’t had much practice sharing the Good News of Christ may not have developed the social and spiritual muscles needed to make them feel up to the task. Remember, though, that as many as were called to join Christ, He equipped to carry out the work. If you have not been one to share Christ in the past, this Easter week is the best possible time to start.
There are some great truths that you may find helpful, and shareable, as you take up your assigned mission of sharing Christ with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers this week. Whether you share these directly, or just use them as a refresher to clarify or organize your own thoughts, I hope this is useful to you.
Observations To Share During Easter Week
- God is real and He intentionally created us to be with Him and to spend time with Him. We are not truly complete if we do not have that relationship. In other words, there is a God shaped space in our souls that no one or nothing else can fill or satisfy. (Psalm 139: 13-16, Jeremiah 29: 11-14)
- God is holy. He has set the standard of right and wrong that does not change with time and is the same for all people, always. (Psalm 99, Isaiah 5: 16, Psalm 77: 13-14)
- Because He is holy, He cannot associate with anyone or anything that is not holy. Even the temple of God had a curtain that kept the people from being directly in the presence of God, because they would surely die. The high priest was permitted to go past the curtain only one time per year in order to offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. (Leviticus 16, 1 Kings 6, Hebrews 9: 1-7)
- Except for one man, every person since, and including, Adam and Eve, have done things that violate God’s standard of right and wrong. These violations are called sin. It doesn’t matter what those violations may have been, they all result in the same thing. Every violation of God’s law makes us worthy of death and separation from God. (Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, Romans 6:23)
- God loves us more than we will ever know. He is not willing to let any of us stay in our separated state, so He arranged a way for us to be washed clean from our sin and to be declared blameless. As the law required, a lamb, pure and without blemish, was to be sacrificed for the sin of the people. Unfortunately, these sacrifices were only temporary arrangements which had to be offered regularly for the forgiveness of sin. God sent His only Son to be a permanent substitute. Jesus, who is called the Christ, came to earth to serve as the Lamb of God who takes away sin once and for all time. He is the pure, unblemished lamb that satisfies the law for ever. (Hebrews 10:1-13, Romans 3:25-26)
- Jesus came to earth as a baby born to Mary. During His childhood He surprised everyone by His understanding of Scripture. When He was an adult, He began His ministry by calling disciples and teaching any who would listen about God and His Kingdom. He performed many miracles in order to show people the power and love of God. He healed people of disease and physical impairments. He brought some people back to life. As He taught, He told the people that He would be killed, but that in three days He would be raised back to life again. The people did not understand what He meant. (Mark 6: 1-7, John 2: 19-22)
- Jesus gave a new law. The message of Jesus was that we should all love God with all our heart and mind and spirit, and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus did not come to pass judgement on anyone. He came to seek and to save that which was lost, that is, you and me. (John 13: 34-35, Matthew 22: 36-40, John 12: 47)
- The religious leaders of the time did not approve of this new law, they were jealous and afraid. They had Jesus beaten and nailed to a cross and hung up to die. While He was dying, people yelled insults at Him and harassed Him. For His part, He asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing. (Matthew 12:14, Mark 15, Matthew 27, Luke 23, John 19)
- Two thieves were crucified at the same time. One of them joined in the insults. The other recognized that Jesus was innocent and asked to be remembered when Jesus got into His kingdom. Jesus promised him that he would be with Him in paradise that very day. In this He shows us that He accepts, immediately and completely, all who acknowledge Him as the Son of God and who seek forgiveness of their sins. (Luke 23: 39-43)
- As Jesus drew His last breath, the curtain of the temple that separated the people from God was torn completely in two from top to bottom. Thus, by His death, He has become the High Priest who makes atonement for the sins of all people and He has given us direct access to the presence of God, forever. Jesus died, taking on death and hell in our place. He took our suffering on Himself. He endured the separation from God that sin creates on our behalf and paid the price for our redemption. Because He died in our place, we can be washed clean from our sin. We can have access to the presence of Holy God because Jesus has opened the way. (Luke 23: 44-46, Hebrews 9: 11-15, Romans 5: 1-2)
- After He was dead for a short time, He was taken down from the cross and placed in a rock tomb. A huge rock was placed over the mouth of the tomb and military guards were posted at the tomb to make sure His followers did not come and steal His body. (John 19: 38-42, Luke 23: 50-56, Matthew 27, Matthew 27: 62-66)
- On the third day after His death, some of the women who had followed Him went to the tomb to properly prepare His body for burial. When they arrived at the tomb, the rock had been rolled away and the guards were gone. The body of Jesus was not in the tomb where it has been left. After discovering that Jesus was not in the tomb, some men appeared to them wearing clothing that shone like lightning. The men asked the women why they were looking for a living person among the dead. They told them that Jesus was risen from the dead, and was alive, just as He said He would be. (Luke 24: 1-12, Matthew 28: 1-15, Mark 16: 1-8, John 20: 1-10)
- After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by many. He gave them instructions to go to all the world and tell everyone the Good News of salvation. After this, He went up into heaven to be in the presence of God where He intercedes for us with God. He is preparing a place for us so that, in due time, we can be where He is. (Matthew 28: 16-20, Luke 24: 13-53 , Mark 16: 9-20, John 20: 11-31, John 14: 1-4)
- As many as believe in Him, He gives eternal life and citizenship in the Kingdom of God. Accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord brings us into relationship with Him. We become brothers and sisters in Christ. When we take on Christ, God no longer sees the things that we have done wrong. He sees the righteousness, or rightness, of Jesus. The blood that Jesus shed on the cross washes us clean forever. This relationship is freely given, but must be accepted. Although we are free to accept or refuse this unspeakable gift, at some point every person will acknowledge Christ as Lord. If we do not do so before we die, it is too late. Jesus is the only Way. He is the only Truth. He is the only Life. Any others claiming to offer these things are wrong. He is the only Hope of the world. (John 1: 12-13, John 14:6, Acts 4: 10-12)
There are many ways to share the Good News of Christ. The most important thing is that we do it. Sometimes we will have need of laying out the gospel verse by verse, sometimes by telling our own stories of redemption. When we talk about what Christ has done in our own lives, people are often able to see more clearly what Christ offers. You will probably encounter people who do not believe you or who think that the gospel is ridiculous. That is to be expected. As the Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1: 18) Don’t worry about that. Always be sincere. Always remember that we are not the judges, we are the witnesses. It is not up to us to decide who will get into the kingdom. It is up to us to show and tell what we know and have seen of Jesus Christ. Whether you practice what you will say or use notes the first couple of times you talk about Jesus is not as important as actually carrying out the deed. The Holy Spirit will prepare you and will provide the words to say if you need help. Do not be afraid, just tell the story. Because of Christ, the story has power all on its own.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3: 16-18