From the orthodox to the charismatic, from small chapels to megachurches, from brick and mortar to digital, pastors nationwide are leading believers and seekers in Easter worship services with the central Christian message – Jesus Christ, God's only begotten son, died on the cross and rose on the third day for the salvation of those who believe in Him.
Lee Strobel, teaching pastor and author of The Case For Easter and many other books, told The Christian Post, "My focus will be on 1 Cor 15:17 – 'And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.' I'll be talking about the historical evidence that convinced me as an atheist that Jesus did rise from the dead and thus back up his claim to being the Son of God. The resurrection is the linchpin of the Christian faith – no resurrection, no Christianity."
Strobel, who is also a professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, will be preaching during eight Easter services within 24 hours at Mission Community Church in Gilbert, Ariz. His message is one that pastors hope will help bring those attending church or watching online during Easter into a relationship with Jesus. more >>
Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but can believers also embrace fluffy bunnies and decorated eggs also associated with the holiday without taking away from the Gospel message?
"The commercialization and secularization of Easter speaks to a culture committed to extrapolating faith from the public sphere," the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told The Christian Post. "Easter is not about a bunny. Easter is about the lamb; crucified and resurrected. Although I have no problem in activities that engage children and provide space for conversations regarding Easter, the most transformative week in history, the Passion week and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ cannot be sacrificed on the altar of cultural expediency."
While churches across the world celebrate the holiday, the name "Easter" is not biblical as it is derived from Eastre, an Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess of Spring. According to the Daily Journal, Eastre had a rabbit as a companion which explains the incorporation of Easter bunnies and egg hunts during Easter Sunday celebrations. more >>
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 >>