Why Easter?

By Bruce Hebel

Why do we celebrate Easter? Most people today have at least a vague understanding of the story line, but do they know why it happened? Why did Jesus choose to be crucified on Friday and then rise from the dead that Resurrection Sunday? The answer is found in the first words Jesus declared while He was on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus died to make it possible for God to forgive the world.

Easter is about forgiveness!

Luke 24:46-47 contains one of the last conversations Jesus had with his disciples before the Ascension. Jesus said, “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and rise again on the third day so that…” The “so that” is a purpose clause. This is significant because that which precedes a purpose clause is never the main goal of the clause, it is the means to the main goal. While every believer would agree that the death and resurrection of Jesus are the most significant events in human history, these events weren’t the main goal of the Easter story. They were the means to the main goal. What is the main goal of the Easter story? “… so that repentance for forgiveness of sins be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem.”

Easter is about forgiveness!

The Gospel is simply this: In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned, not only did man lose a lot, but God lost a lot. We lost the relationship we were designed to have with God. God lost the glory we were designed to give him.

God the Father said,
“I want my kids back and I want my glory back. But there is a sin debt that man is incapable of paying back. Jesus, is there something you’re willing to do about this?”

Jesus responded,
“I have more than enough righteousness in my account to cover the sin debt of the whole world. I’ll take care of it.”

Jesus left heaven, lived 33 and 1/3 years perfectly, stretched his arms out on the cross and declared “It is finished!” What was finished on that good Friday? The payment for the sin debt of the whole world! I John 2:2 tells us that every sin ever committed by anyone, anywhere and anytime, past, present, and future, was paid for by Jesus on the cross. It is finished! The recompense required for forgiveness was fulfilled.

Three days later, when He raised Jesus from the dead the Father declared, “I agree! I receive the blood of my Son as payment for the sins of the world against Me. The debt has been satisfied. Their sins are forgiven.”

Easter is about forgiveness, because forgiveness is at the core of the Gospel.

So as we raise our voices this week in the triumphant old hymns and powerful resurrection choruses, let’s keep in mind that the best way to honor Christ’s death and resurrection is to extend His forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Remember, the blood of Jesus covers all sin, including the ones committed against us!

Easter is about forgiveness!

Amy Smithwick