By BETH PATCH, CBN—
The best way to understand the real meaning of Easter would be from Jesus. As is recorded in the 12th chapter of John, Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem by a large crowd singing praises to Him, carrying palm branches and hailing Him as the King of Israel – the Messiah. They were gathering to celebrate Passover and such an outpouring of adoration made the Pharisees seeth with anger and disgust. They did not believe Jesus was their long-awaited King.
- Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:23-26, NLT
Probably a puzzling speech at the time, but clearly another moment when Jesus used a timeless parable to tell His message. Grains of wheat haven’t changed and never will – a kernel must be planted in the soil and die to produce a harvest of wheat. Jesus had to die and be “planted” in a tomb to rise up and produce a harvest of life everlasting to those who believed in Him. (After His resurrection, the parable’s meaning could be fully understood.)
Jesus knew that He was going to be killed and how He was going to be killed; and He knew the time was approaching. He told his disciples how he’d like his death on the cross to be remembered. His request is found in Luke 22:
- When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. (Luke 22:14-20, NLT)
Without a doubt, Jesus wants us to remember his great love and sacrifice for us by taking communion. He was getting ready to be betrayed by one of the disciples, publicly humiliated and mocked, beaten beyond recognition, and hung on a cross to die, when he made his special request for us to remember that He gave his body for us and poured out his blood as a sacrifice for us. The heart of Easter lies in his words, “the new covenant between God and his people.”
What is the real meaning of Easter? Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been given victory over death and eternal separation from God, a covenant promise of forgiveness and grace:
- “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3b-4, KJV)
- “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NLT)
When we eat the bread and drink the wine of communion, we need to search our hearts. Are we remembering the suffering that Jesus’ body went through for us? Are we remembering how His blood was shed so our souls could be spared? Let’s thank Jesus this Easter for giving us life and for giving us the Holy Spirit as our comforter before He ascended back to Heaven.