Word For Word 3/20/24

Pastor Duane Smith
Pastor Duane Smith

The True Meaning of Easter

Several years ago, I had a conversation with an inmate at the prison in Prairie du Chien, WI concerning Easter. It was amazing to me to find out that he had no idea what Palm Sunday and Easter were all about! He was sixty-five years old, grew up in the United States and no one had ever told him. 

This whole exchange made me wonder just how many people don’t know the significance of these two holidays.  For many, it just means that they get a long weekend.  What a tragedy.

Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. We call it the Triumphal Entry. The Jews were excited because they thought that Jesus was going to come into Jerusalem and lead a great revolt against the hated Roman government. This day, however, had a far greater significance.  Since it was the Sunday before Passover, this was the day that each Jewish family would choose their Passover lamb. It was lamb selection day. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds were praising the one they thought would deliver them from the Romans but God was announcing that this was His Passover Lamb. Passover was when the Jews celebrated what God did for them back in Egypt.  When they applied the blood of an unblemished lamb to the doorposts of their home the death angel passed over that house and did not kill the first-born. This was to be a perpetual celebration in Israel.  

On Good Friday, the day that the lamb was to be killed, Jesus was taken to a hill with two others and was crucified. The time that the Bible says that He was crucified is that very moment when the Passover lamb was to be killed in the Temple.  God had selected His Lamb on Sunday and He was crucified for our sins at the exact time.  He had done nothing wrong but was placed on that cross to suffer and die so that all who “believe on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  Just as the Passover lamb had preserved the life of the first-born son if its blood was applied to the doorpost of the house, so God’s Passover Lamb, Jesus, will give eternal life to all those who have trusted in the sacrifice that He made for them.

All of this would be complete nonsense if it were not for the greatest event in all of history that occurred on Sunday morning of that week.  The Bible records for us that when they went to the tomb that morning they found that it was empty! He had risen from the dead! First Corinthians 15:5-8 gives us a list of all the people who witnessed that Jesus was alive after He had clearly been put to death.  This verified that He truly was the Son of God and that He is certainly able to save all those who trust in Him.  

The greatest gift that we could ever receive is salvation from our sins and that is exactly what Jesus offers us.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says; “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

This is what Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter are all about! Spread the word!

Pastor Duane Smith
First Baptist Church,