Michel: Easter story of sacrifice ends in triumph over death

Published 12:09 am Saturday, March 26, 2016

Except for a few Cadbury eggs for my adult children, and sour candy my granddaughters adore, we are having a candy-less Easter this year.

Last year, there were equal amounts of candy baskets and fruit baskets, and the year before was all chocolate.

Although the details of the celebration seem to change every year, attending church and telling the story of Easter remain. And each time I repeat the story, I think of my own early perceptions.

As a child, I never understood why it was necessary for Jesus to die. I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around the idea of a sinless man dying a brutal death.

Now, when I think of Easter, my thoughts go back to the Garden of Eden.

Created in the image of God and clothed with His Glory, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Once they disobeyed God, they realized their nakedness.

Their guilt brought shame, which they attempted to cover with fig leaves, then they tried to hide from the presence of God.

Before banishing them from the Garden, God made garments from the skin of animals sacrificed to cover the guilt and shame brought on by the sin of Adam and Eve.

For many years after that, people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins, while prophets predicted God would send a Messiah to redeem man. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. God had sent His Son to be the sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Although tempted in every area, Jesus was without sin, yet He willingly became the final sacrifice for our sins. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

I could make a lengthy list of the sins from which I’ve been forgiven, the sicknesses from which I’ve been healed and the freedom I’ve found from life’s difficulties, fear and mental torment, all as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice.

As difficult as each one was to bear, they were spread out over a 56-year period. What astounds me is Jesus bore not only the contents of my list, but the lists of everyone at one time — a pain I cannot imagine, endured by a Savior I will not deny.

Although my sins were enough to nail Jesus to the cross, they couldn’t keep Him there. Easter Sunday marks His triumph over death.

May we daily experience the results of His sacrifice, and live in the freedom He so willingly purchased for us.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.