Traveling on a freeway while vacationing in another state recently, I noticed a billboard that advertised an “Easter Extravaganza” to occurr on the upcoming Easter weekend. Driving at highway speed, I did not have time to study the sign and did not catch the details at the bottom. Perhaps the sponsor of the event was a municipal or social organization, or maybe a religious organization or large church. Most of the few thousands of people driving this stretch each day likely would not have even noticed the sign, but among those who did, I wondered, what might they expect of an “Easter Extravaganza?”
If a civic or municipal organization were the sponsor, likely the event would include an Easter egg hunt and candy for kids, maybe presents and costumed bunnies. Lots of spring-themed decorations, flowers, and Easter baskets along with the abundant Easter eggs and candy. If the organizer were a church, along with the eggs and candy, maybe a rock concert featuring songs with undefined references to “Jesus,” “Cross,” “Resurrection,” and themes of affirmation, inspiration, personal renewal and happiness, followed by a talk featuring such themes, somehow tied to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After returning home, I noticed a church that I drive past often advertising an Easter egg hunt, and many area churches offer things like a “Community Easter Egg Hunt.”
Biblical Christianity knows nothing of such an Easter extravaganza. Is there any harm in giving Easter candy and coloring eggs and the like? Really, no. We enjoy such cultural traditions with our children. But American societal Easter traditions in truth fall outside of anything we find in the Bible. We can wonder about the idea of a church using cultural Easter traditions as a community outreach and debate the wisdom of using such methods to attempt to communicate the real gospel.
Nevertheless, the Bible does tell us of a real cause for celebration, a real extravaganza. A celebration not featuring eggs and a bunny, but A Lamb.
In 1 Corinthians 15, the Bible tells us,
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve . . . 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty . . . . 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death . . .. 4 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
In the book of The Revelation, the Apostle John wrote,
(Chapter 6) And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain . . . 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
(Chapter 7) 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The scriptures do not tell us of a seasonal celebration of Easter, but rather a joyous, eternal celebration of the resurrected Lamb.