Bright colored eggs and chocolate bunnies and yes, who can resist marsh-mellow chicks? The exorbitant marketing seems to reach out and not only entice but seems to put some captivating spell on every child around. Dreams of searching and finding the most Easter eggs invade our sleeping little ones. Parents are calculating the added expense of new dresses and bows and baskets for all those attending special services.
Like so many of Judeo-Christian holidays in the past, Easter has been high-jacked by commercialization and turned into a huge money machine. Now, I want to be clear, I enjoy and probably buy more chocolate eggs then most. But I am concerned we are doing a disservice to the next generation by confusing or not defining what we are celebrating.
If we are just playing a religious game of chocolate bunnies, eggs and Jesus, then the power of the Easter story has been deflated and we are miserable people (tweet)
Let me share a story that the late Ben Haden told through his religious broadcast that I think might help clarify what I am concerned about. “A group of young children were gathered in their Sunday school class. When the teacher asked, “Does anyone know what today is? One of the little girls excitedly held up her hand and said,” Yes, today is Palm Sunday.” The teacher exclaimed, “That’s wonderful. Now does anyone know what next Sunday is?” The same little girl held up her hand and said, “Yes, next Sunday is Easter.” Again the teacher said, “That’s fantastic. Now, does anyone know what makes next Sunday Easter?” The same little girl responded and said, “Yes, next Sunday is Easter because Jesus rose from the grave” and before the teacher could congratulate her, she kept on talking and said, “but if he sees his shadow — he has to go back in for seven weeks.” Well, as hysterical as that might seem, it is also very alarming!
We have allowed the commercialization of Easter to muddy the waters of the real meaning of Christ’s resurrection. Even with a warning from his wife, Pilot still became a pawn in the hands of the enemy not having a full grasp of what was going on concerning Jesus. The pressures from the manipulated crown made Pilot defend himself by saying, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Then the crowd answered, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matt 27:22)
In the same way the church is presented with a similar dilemma in the midst of our bunny and egg confusion. We must answer the same question, “What will we do with Jesus”? Is He just another part of the commercial holiday or is He the risen Lord!
In 1 Cor 15:16-17, 19 we read where Paul writes to the church in Corinth saying, “… if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile.” Paul continues on saying, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” In other words if we are just playing a religious game of chocolate bunnies, eggs and Jesus, then the power of the Easter story has been deflated and we are miserable people. But the reality is that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and on the third day arose from the dead for you and me. In Col 2:13-15, Paul declares that through the cross our sin was wiped away and we were made alive together with Christ who has forgiven us of all our trespasses. The message of Easter is Hope and Redemption through Christ Jesus not just eggs and bunnies. So let me ask you, “What will you do with Jesus”?