Easter is a time when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, fulfilling centuries of prophecy about the Messiah. It is a holiday known for also featuring secular components like Easter eggs, candy, egg hunts, and the Easter bunny. Some of these traditions derive from pagan observances dating back to the Roman Empire, which some find troubling.
Thomas Burke, dean of Humanities at Hillsdale College and a professor of philosophy and religion, however, believes that it is acceptable for Christians to partake in rituals during Easter that may have pagan roots.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Burke explained that given that these secular Easter traditions "no longer have those pagan associations and meanings," they are "perfectly legitimate for Christians." more >>
Todd Burpo, the Kansas-based pastor and author of Heaven Is for Real, which spawned a film released in theaters on Wednesday, told The Christian Post recently that while he believes the majority of Americans believe in the afterlife, they likely have given it little thought.
"We put those thoughts off because funerals, lost loved ones and things like that we associate painful memories with that," he told The Christian Post.
Burpo said the glaring lack of human experience on the issue also makes it difficult to start a conversation about what follows death. more >>
What was the extent of the physical suffering Jesus endured at the crucifixion? Consider that the English word "excruciating" is from the Latin meaning "out of the crucifixion." I've found that the best way to comprehend the magnitude of the Christ's physical suffering on Good Friday is to read the following description that we've adapted from the work of medical doctor, C. Truman Davis (see I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 380-383).
WARNING: THIS IS GRAPHIC (You may have a difficult time getting through it).
The whip the Roman soldiers use on Jesus has small iron balls and sharp pieces of sheep bones tied to it. Jesus is stripped of his clothing, and his hands are tied to an upright post. His back, buttocks, and legs are whipped either by one soldier or by two who alternate positions. The soldiers taunt their victim. As they repeatedly strike Jesus' back with full force, the iron balls cause deep contusions, and the sheep bones cut into the skin and tissues. As the whipping continues, the lacerations tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss set the stage for circulatory shock. more >>
Easter has always meant a lot to me, and in the life of our church, Easter Sundays have been historic times of outreach, growth and opportunity. However, the resurrection of Jesus has never meant more to me than it does right now.
The grave is brutal, merciless and uncaring. It swallows everything it touches and it is never satisfied. It will not stop until every last person has been consumed. It seems as though every time you turn on the news or get a breaking news alert on your phone there is a new tragedy. Planes that disappear, celebrities who accidentally overdose, young people who despair and take their lives, public places turned to terror through shooting – sometimes it's too much to handle.
The good news is that death has been devoured by the power of God and it can't fight back. Jesus' tomb is empty and because of that fact, we don't have to be terrified by the grave anymore. Death's power has been undone. Those who fall asleep in Christ become greater after death than they were before and they can never be touched by it again. Paul said, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (II Corinthians 5:1) more >>
A short dramatic video depicting Jesus in line to be sent inside the Auschwitz concentration camp by Nazi soldiers circa 1943 Poland, and chosen to be killed inside a gas chamber, was released this week by Jews for Jesus, a ministry of Christian outreach into the Jewish community.
The video, "That Jew Died for You," was intentionally released in conjunction with Passover, Holy Week and upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day to help redefine the conversation and reshape views of Jesus and His relationship to the Holocaust, the group's leaders say.
"Our intent was not to illicit any kind of angry response but to actually engage people in a conversation because we think that the conversation about who Jesus is [is] important for Jews and Gentiles to discuss, and especially at this time of year, as we are in the Passover, Easter season, and leading into Holocaust Remembrance Day next week," Susan Perlman, associate executive director of Jews for Jesus, told The Christian Post Thursday. more >>
Palestinian Christians are complaining that Israeli authorities have intentionally excluded them from Holy Week celebrations in East Jerusalem by limiting entry permits to the week's festivities.
According to a report from Radio Bethlehem, the government requires special entry permits for Palestinians hoping to join Palm Sunday celebrations, but arbitrarily distributes them. Consequently "in many cases, when families apply to get permits through their churches, Israel deliberately grants some family members permits and denies permits to others, and therefore, the whole family won't be able to attend."