Meeting Recap for March 11, 2016 - Celebrating Jesus: Easter

Walk by any major store's Easter display and you will think the reason for this Spring holiday season is pastel colored sweets. (As I write this, my own pastel colored chocolate eggs are calling to me from the pantry. Cadbury...Cadbury...) Top it off with the occasional bunny, chick and some synthetic green grass and you have Easter.

This week at MOPS Connie Saylor helped us remember the real reason for this Spring holiday season, Christ's resurrection and death.

She started by playing this video. (Watch this video! Even if you ignore the rest of my article. Watch this video!)

Besides being adorable, these kids got it right. This is what Easter and the Passion week leading up to it are all about. Christ coming to earth to die for us and then crushing Satan's last hope by triumphing over the grave. 

Connie broke her talk "The True Meaning of Easter" into four points. 

Point 1: Jesus is the only hope for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:8
When we look at the evil in the world around us, it is easy for us to start to think of ourselves at pretty good people. In general, we play by the rules, try to be good. But the truth is, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glorious life that God intended for us. 

Sin entered the world long ago in a far away garden and we have never been able to shake it. Maybe we haven't killed anyone. However, I know that I've sure wished I've had someone else's waterfront, view home. And that mom in the supermarket that looked amazing, stylish and skinny, I was a bit jealous of her too. "Thou shalt not covet" sits right there in the 10 Commandments not too far away from "Thou shalt not murder." Just across the way is a line about honoring our parents and and a few lines up it tells us to always telling the truth. 

In our society, a little white lie, a jealous thought and disrespecting our elders is pretty status quo, making them easy to overlook as sins. However, as we enter the perfect presence of Christ, we can not longer downplay our sins. They stand out ugly and jagged next to the unblemished life of Christ.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
Romans 3:23
It is through Christ and His sacrifice that our sins are blotted out.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
 
Isaiah 1:18 


Point 2: He died for us.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed
 
Isaiah 52:3
One of the most amazing things about Christ's sacrifice is that in the face of us being sinful, often horrible people, He still suffered and died for us. He is King and Creator of the universe and chose to die for His rebellious, self-righteous children. 

Connie made the point that even though the cross was an excruciating experience physically, mentally and spiritually there was still joy in its accomplishment. There was joy in the suffering because the cross rescued us. The cross took us out of the grip of Satan and placed us squarely in the nail-pierced hands of Christ. 

Point 3: He rose for us.
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 
Matthew 28:1-3
Christ's resurrection was the ultimate triumph over sin and death. At the cross, it looked like Satan had won. Death, the ultimate result of sin, had taken its most precious victim. Christ was dead! However the tables turned on Sunday morning when Christ rose from the grave.

No single event has impacted the world as much as the resurrection of Christ. Through Christ's resurrection (and the resulting gift of the Holy Spirit during Penticost) the ministry Jesus started only three years earlier flourished. 

Men who had fled during His arrest, denied Him at the trial and hid after Hid death were so changed that nothing could stop them from spreading the message of the Gospel. This resulted in all but one of them eventually following Christ to the grave in martyrdom. Even with widespread persecution during its formation, today 1 in 3 profess to be Christians.

Even with Christ appearing to more than 500 people after His resurrection, questions about the Resurrection's authenticity linger. Connie read excerpts from an article by Rusty and Linda Write entitled, Whose Got the Body?  The article argued the validity of Christ's resurrection based on four points.

  • Explosive growth of the Church
  • Changed lives of the disciples
  • Empty tomb
  • Appearance of the Risen Christ
Point 4: He lives!
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 
Hebrews 7:25
Not only did Jesus rise from the dead all those years ago, but He lives now. We can have a real thriving relationship with Him today.

When Jesus walked the earth, those who came to Him left with their hearts and their lives changed. Connie talked about the story of Zacchaeus (found in Luke 19:1-10) and the woman who bled for twelve years (found in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34 and Luke 8:43-48). In both of these situations, outcasts were brought back to community. Sinners were made whole.

Jesus is the only hope for us. It is through the death, resurrection and continued life of Christ that we can find forgiveness, redemption and ultimately, eternal life.

Steering hosted a Leadership Lemonade at this meeting to encourage
moms to check out leadership positions for next year.

Yum!

To round out her talk, Connie also gave us five practical ways to bring the story of Christ's death and resurrection into our Easter celebrations.

  1. Read the Easter story. 
    You can either read it from a children's Bible story book, your favorite children's Bible or your family Bible.
  2. Make a tradition involving resurrection eggs.You can either hide these eggs as part of a traditional Easter egg hunt or use them as an Easter advent calendar.
  3. Hide a white lamb as part of your Easter egg hunt. The white lamb represents Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God. After the lamb is found, teach them how Jesus, even though He was good, took our punishment for being sinful.
  4. Read stories that involve the real meaning of Easter. 
    We have some great Easter book ideas (and non-book ideas) over on our Pinterest board. Click here to explore. 
  5. Attend an Easter morning church service.
    Attend a service at your home church or consider joining PBF for an Easter morning service. 

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