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Easter Eggs, Chocolate Bunnies and Jesus

Good morning. It is Friday, April 15, 2022. It is Good Friday. Jeanette Stark here.

This is Easter Weekend, a holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also the day that children all over the world anticipate getting an Easter Basket filled with chocolate bunnies, stuffed animals, and other goodies.

There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of Easter Egg hunts, chocolate cream-filled eggs, plus animals and baby rabbits and chicks given as gifts. When I was a kid many of us would get a new outfit for church. For many people it is their once-a-year visit to a church service.

What does Easter mean to you? Is your focus on the Savior? Or is the focus on coloring and decorating hard-boiled chicken eggs?

Most people know Easter has its origins in paganism, sadly most of our holidays do.

All the “fun” things we do at Easter time have their origins in paganism. From bunnies to hot cross buns to eggs, a quick on-line search will tell you everything you want to know.

So, how does all of this relate to our Savior? It really doesn’t. Generation after generation has followed a tradition of man. I am just as guilty. When my kids were young, it was all about decorating and hiding eggs. But I want to focus on the cross today.

We know Jesus died for us. He was tortured, mentally and physically, for our sins. He hung on that cross, the ultimate humiliation, in preparation for our salvation. But the most important fact is, He rose from the grave early Sunday morning.

“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:1-6 NKJV

That is the best news! He rose from the grave! Jesus took a HUGE risk and He walked out of that tomb victorious.

But what led Him to the cross? Besides His great love for us…the answer is betrayal.

Have you ever been betrayed by a good friend, a family member, a spouse, a co-worker? If so, you may know a little bit of how Jesus felt when Judas betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver.

Have you ever contemplated what the value of that silver was? From my understanding, in Hebrew culture, thirty pieces of silver was not a lot of money and more than likely it was shekels.

Shekels were used even in Abraham’s time. Genesis 23:16 talks about shekels. “And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver…four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.” NKJV

But back to the 30 pieces of silver. According to Wikipedia the word shekel means simply “weight.” In New Testament times, a shekel was a silver coin weighing about .4 ounces. If that coin was pure silver, which I am not sure it was, but if it was, at today’s rate of $25 per ounce, that would be a value today of about $300.

My friend Sean Murphy asked me if I knew the significance of the 30 pieces of silver and I had to admit I did not. It was the price paid for a slave!

I found this in Exodus 21:32, “If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.” NKJV

The slave’s death was compensated by thirty pieces of silver. Jesus’ death was bought for 30 pieces of silver.

Judas was overcome with what he had done. He returned the silver, but the deed was done, it was too late.

“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”…Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:1-5 NKJV

Do you know what the priests and elders did with that money?

“…the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced…and gave them for the potter’s field…” Matthew 27:6-10 NKJV

That fulfillment of prophesy can be found in Zechariah 11:12-13 “…So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.” NKJV

We know that Jesus was a Man of deep feeling and compassion. We can find numerous stories in the Bible of a compassionate Jesus. This gentle man, the Son of God, the Creator of our world and everything in it, was killed on our behalf, for $300. He died to pay the price for our sin. As the song lyrics go “I can scarce take it in.”

Romans 5:6-8 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” NKJV

“By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us.“God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together.Christ glorified is our brother.Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. DA 25.3

That is the Jesus we celebrate this Easter weekend. Take time over the next couple of days and just reflect on what that means for you and to you.

I will leave you with the lyrics of one my favorite songs (Yes, I have many favorites) Better yet, pull it up on YouTube by Dallas Holm.

Rise Again

Go ahead, drive the nails in my hands

Laugh at me where you stand

Go ahead, and say it isn't me

The day will come, when you will see!

'Cause I'll rise again

Ain't no power on earth can tie me down

Yes, I'll rise again

Death can't keep me in the ground!

Go ahead, and mock my name

My love for you is still the same

Go ahead, and bury me

But very soon I will be free!

'Cause I'll rise again

Ain't no power on earth can tie me down

Yes, I'll rise again

Death can't keep me in the ground!

Go ahead, and say I'm dead and gone

But you will see that you were wrong

Go ahead, try to hide the Son

But all will see that I'm the One!

'Cause I'll Come again

Ain't no power on earth can keep me back

Yes, I'll come again

Come to take my people back

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