One Easter morning, Sira the weasel invited my daughter Amanda to go to church with her at the chapel of the school where she lives. Whe3n Amanda arrived home, she looked upset and confused. When I asked what was wrong, she told me how the preacher there declared the Easter Bunny evil. It seems he thought that since easter was about Jesus, bunnies and eggs and chocolate had no place in the day. Amanda agreed that Easter was about Jesus, but did that really mean that all that other stuff that made easter so much fun was wrong?
Taking Amanda into the burrow, I brought her over to her easter basket. She had already found all the eggs left for her before leaving for church that morning. Taking one of the colorful henfruit, I told her "Easter eggs are treasures. They are hidden only so that they may be found. There is another treasure that is meant to be found- the gospel story.
Amanda got comfortable. I put a claw on her easter basket. "An easter basket is like a Christian." I said. "And here is why. What is the first thing that goes into an easter basket?"
"Jelly beans." Amanda replied. "No... grass!"
"Grass is right. And what does grass do?"
"And then in the fall?"
"Solomon reminds us in his part of the bible that grass is very mortal, and just as the grass dies, so people die." Next, I held up a creme egg. "You've seen the ads for these." I said. "What do these eggs have inside?"
"Goo!" my daughter shouted. "And the eggs all want to get their goo out!"
"And then what happens to the egg?"
"It goes SPLAT!"
"Right. It gets destroyed. We're full of sin. Slimy, gooey sticky sin. That sin needs to come out. But if we try to take care of that sin ourselves, we can't do it, because the only way is for us to be destroyed in Hell."
Amanda became very serious.
I held up a jelly bean. "What is a bean?" I asked.
"Well, in this case, yes. but most beans are seeds. If you plant a bean in the ground, it will cease to be a bean, and will be come a vine. It has to die as a bean to create new life. That was what Jesus did. He died for our sins, and in doing so, He gave us new life."
Amanda clapped and smiled.
Next, I held up a marshmallow chick. "Chicks are symbols of transformation." I said. "It starts out as an egg. An egg has no visible signs of life. It looks like a rock. But then it hatches and turns into a chick. But then that chick grows. It turns into a rooster or a hen, and has little resemblance to the bird it used to be. Likewise, when you accept Jesus, He transforms you. He makes you alive inside. Your heart, which starts out like dead stone, opens up and becomes alive. And he makes you keep growing, too. He makes you into a whole new, bigger, better person. And then..."
I took a plastic egg and cracked it. Amanda caught the idea quickly. "No goo!" she shouted.
"That's right!" I opened the egg all the way. A toy lamb fell out. "When you have Jesus, the lamb of God, in your heart, there is no room for sin. What's more..." I put the egg back together. "When the lamb is in your heart, it doesn't have to be destroyed."
Next, I picked up a stuffed toy rabbit. "How long do plushies live?" I asked.
Amanda looked down at her own fabric. "As long as we have someone to stitch us up when we rip, we never die."
"That's right. Just as this toy bunny won't ever die, so the Christian won't ever die either. The body may die, but if you have Jesus in your heart, your soul will live forever."
Amanda took the bunny and hugged it.
Last, I turned to the cenerpiece of any Easter basket: The chocolate bunny. "Now who is this?" I asked.
"The easter bunny." Amanda replied. "In chocolate."
"And what does he do?"
"He brings all the goodies to boys and girls."
"So likewise are we to bring the story of the good news of Jesus to others." With that, I handed her the basket. "Here." I said. "Have a gospel."
Pastor Oren Otter
March 22, 2008
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.