It was still dark when the women arose from their beds, hurriedly put on their garments, and started down the path to the sepulcher where the body of Jesus lay. The pine torch flickered, sending out a warm smell of resin that blended pleasantly with the sweet odor of the spices that they carried to anoint his body. In the predawn stillness, not a bird sang, and the only sound was the soft slap of the women’s sandals as they made their way to the tomb.
They wrapped their robes a little tighter against the early morning chill, and talked in muted tones about their beloved Master, Jesus. The uppermost thought in their minds was the huge stone that was sealing the entrance to the sepulcher, for none of them were able to roll it away.
Events had happened so fast the past few days that they were still quite bewildered by it all. Jesus, whom they had loved and followed, had been taken and crucified three days before, and placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. They were sorrowful, and confused, and somewhat apprehensive. It was that darkest hour just before dawn, and undoubtedly the darkest hour of their lives. Their whole world had fallen apart.
Thin streaks of light were appearing in the sky as they neared the tomb, and daylight was breaking fast. To their amazement, the huge stone that they had worried about was rolled away from the door of the sepulcher! Entering the tomb, they found that the body of Jesus was gone! They were much perplexed, and uncertain, and just a little bit frightened.
There were confused accounts afterward, but suddenly there were two men in shining garments who appeared beside them. They told the women that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they were seeking, was no longer there but that He had risen!
The message today is still loud and clear, “He has risen!” Sadly, to many people the celebration of Easter means only a new outfit, and that one trip to church to display it. They will never darken the church doors again until Christmastime. How sad!
Most children connect Easter only with baskets of candy, colored eggs and the Easter bunny (whatever that is!) Even folks who know that Easter is the commemoration of our Lord’s resurrection are untouched by it, unless the experience of salvation is in their own hearts.
As I thought about the women who went to the tomb in the darkness of the early morning, I thought of my own life and how dark it was before I met Jesus. I walked in darkness, in fear and in dread. There was a heavy stone on my heart and I couldn’t begin to roll it away. Then in that darkest hour just before dawn, when it felt as if my world was also falling apart, the Spirit of God rolled the stone away and Jesus came in and began to live in me.
The burden lifted, and Jesus told me that He cast my sins away, as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered against me no more. He gave me “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3) The wonderful thing is, that it didn’t stop with the work of salvation. Not only does Jesus save, but His spirit has power to keep us from repeating the old sins.
It has been many years since I was first saved, but Jesus is still alive and joyful in my heart. He walks with me every day, for he promised that He would never leave nor forsake me. He is truly sweeter today than He was the day I was saved because of the long road that we have traveled together. He is my Guide, my Counselor, my Hope and my Comfort. I can recommend Jesus to you because He is the best Friend that I have ever had. If He has not risen in your heart, my friend, then you are missing it all. When you find Him, then you can say with me, “Rejoice! King Jesus lives today!”
There are many symbols of Easter that are used today. One is the lamb, which represents the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) Another is the Easter lily, which signifies purity. (1 Cor.:15-52) Eggs have always been a symbol of new life, and early Christians dyed eggs red to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.
I’ve always wondered why new clothes were worn at Easter, and I found that they do have a religious meaning. New white garments were once worn by newly baptized Christians which represented new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Of course, the cross has always represented victory over the power of sin and death. (Rom. 3:25-26.)
So, let your little ones hide and hunt the colored eggs, and explain to them what the symbol means—new life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As they grow older, they can be taught what Easter really means—hope for us all.