by Ronnie McBrayer
On Easter morning, a Sunday School teacher began to quiz her class of young children about the real meaning of the day. “What is Easter?” she asked, and the students were ready to respond. A little boy said, “Easter is that holiday when we get together with our families, eat turkey, and everyone is thankful.” The teacher answered, “No, not quite. Does anyone else know?” Another child answered, “Easter is the holiday when we grill burgers and hotdogs, shoot off fireworks, and celebrate our country’s birthday.”
Again, the teacher replied, “No, not quite.” She began to wonder if anyone in the room knew what Easter was really about. But then a little girl stood and began speaking, “Easter is a Christian holiday that follows the remembrance of Jesus’ death on Good Friday. Jesus was buried in tomb, and a large rock was rolled over the entrance.”
The teacher nearly squealed in delight. But then the girl continued, “And on Easter morning the stone is rolled away so Jesus can get out. Then, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.” No, not quite.
While the children in this story gave incomplete answers, the question asked is still a good one: “What is Easter?” Despite a gazillion Easter sermons and Sunday School classes, our answers may still be a little lacking.
Many believers spend Easter morning proclaiming or listening to massive, exhaustive explanations of the resurrection miracle. The gospel accounts are analyzed and reconciled; scientific objections are considered and then dismantled; skeptics are scolded and unbelievers are disregarded. It is apologetic calisthenics, a vigorous workout in defending Jesus’ reputation, and not quite the answer.
Easter is reduced to defending the Christian dogma, but it is so much more than that. It is a revolution of transforming hope for the world. Easter is not just a doctrine; it is a powerful, redemptive way to live today. When God raised Jesus from the dead – and Christians believe Christ is indeed risen – he signaled the beginning of the redemption of all things, and provided the potency to bring this redemption to its fulfillment.
So we must do more than explain Easter. We must live it and “get in” on it today. We must use it to instigate heaven on earth. We must do more than say “He is Risen,” we must become the living proof of Christ’s resurrection power.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.