Every year my social feed feed is clogged up with some Easter messages, some amazing and some, well, a little it theologically el-wrongo (at least in my opinion). This is the long message I posted in response to such messages last year:
You may have heard that Jesus died to take away our sins. This explains
only part of his death. Jewish people had to atone for their sin
(anything breaking the Laws set by God) according to their wealth, which
meant a poor person would have to sacrifice food, while a wealthy
person may have to sacrifice their best cattle. Jesus' death was a
prophesy throughout the Old Testament. Essentially His death was
inevitable, and was made as an atonement
for our sins. It is because of this sacrifice that we can have a
relationship with God, free of condemnation and full of grace. To repent
of your sin is important, and to live by grace is a two-way street, and
shouldn't be a gift taken lightly. We are blessed.
The Story of Easter, and by story I don't mean fiction, is well known but not always well understood. What is often spread about the Easter story is that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. Let's break that down a little bit.
The Apostle's Creed states:
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty,
from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus had a short time of what we would term as ministry on Earth of about three years. That's incredibly short. Jesus' life and death is prophesied in the Old Testament of our Bible, pointing to a coming Messiah would would save the Jewish people and help restore the relationship with God they once had.
When we talk about Jesus saving us from sin, or 'taking our place on the cross', sometimes I think this can become a little bit understated. Before the crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish people had to atone for their sins, sacrificing what was most precious to them, which is both completely sad and fascinating all at once. It is thought that the death of Jesus, and his subsequent resurrection brings closer to the need to atone for sin anymore, which means that Jesus brings justification to people and God so that they can be in relationship with one another.
Easter brings a time of sorrow, the death of Jesus, followed by a time of great joy, which includes His resurrection, further ministry and ascension to Heaven.