(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Scripture Devotions: Getting Back to the Heart of Easter
By Jehn Kubiak
Scriptures in HCSB translation.
Ask kid’s today how they celebrate Easter and many might say, “We go hunting for Easter eggs and mommy and daddy give us chocolates and we eat a big dinner!” Why in the world did a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection become another reason for self-gratification?
In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to sacrifice for their sins. However, because of Jesus, we no longer offer physical sacrifices and can freely worship God, unlike the Israelites. Do we even understand the severity of Jesus becoming the ultimate sacrificial lamb?
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.”
– Isaiah 53:3-5
Sit on this passage for a moment. He was despised. He carried our pains. Even so, he bore the punishment we rightly deserved. Jesus knows what suffering feels like because he endured the most painful suffering possible–crucifixion. With this in mind, we remember that the Son loves us so much that we receive healing through his scars.
“…and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
– Galatians 2:20
Due to Christ’s death on the cross, we receive an eternal body in heaven and the Holy Spirit lives within us. Christ didn’t have to come––he wanted to come! Would you willingly die for someone you love?
“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ,we believe that we will also live with Him.”
– Romans 6:6-8
In this passage, Paul explains how we die to our old selves once we accept Christ and remain free from sin’s bondage. As a result, we also have eternal life with Christ. Yes, we still struggle with sin, but it doesn’t control us because we are children of God. We belong to Him, not the prince of this world who seeks to turn us away from God.
“And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.”
– Colossians 2:13-14
Circumcision was a sign of faithfulness to God’s covenant in the Old Testament. On this note, Paul describes how the Colossians lived a sinful and unfaithful life. However, through belief in Christ and through His death on the cross, they received a new life as well as forgiveness for their sins. We are free from debt. We don’t owe God anything––he simply forgives and lavishes love on us. That doesn’t mean we should take his love for granted and do anything we please, but it should make us stand in awe of God’s amazing compassion and draw us closer to him.
“ Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.”
– Ephesians 1:3-10
Praise the Lord because God poured out his blessings on us! God had a redemptive plan for humanity because he knew we would choose sin over righteousness. Regardless, he bestowed grace upon us through Jesus Christ and we receive redemption. That not all––we’re included in bringing people back to him––this is why sharing the Gospel message becomes so crucial. Why do we keep our faith to ourselves? Why do we fear others will reject us for sharing about God? Our Heavenly Father reveals his will to us and allows us to participate in his greater ministry.
Easter is a day where we can remember how God redeemed his people from eternal death and darkness and brought them into light and eternal life.