Monday, April 9, 2012

Does Easter Have to Include Violence?

As believers, we understand the story of Easter to include the necessary sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ; a barbaric, torturous death.  There are some today who are concerned that sharing such violence with children, particularly, is not good.  They would minimize his death, or at least not mention how he was crucified.  I admit, these influences effected my thoughts as I shared this story with my grandchildren a few days ago, even more so than when I taught my children this message a few decades ago.

How do we explain that our God suffered and died in this fashion, and yet he is loving and good and we want our image of Him to be sweet and gentle?  Emphasizing the incredible good news of resurrection Easter morning, brings the story to a satisfying end.  I understand how he conquered death and bought my pardon and redeemed all those who believe in Him.  But why share the gore and blood?

I read an interesting article in a column of our local paper by Melodie Davis.  I include the link at the end of this post.  She shares a practice of old shepherding communities where blood becomes a symbol of adoption:

The shepherd would find newborn lambs lying besides ewes who had died during the night, and other ewes silently sitting with a stillborn lamb.  The orphan would die without nourishment and the childless ewe would die of a broken heart.  So why not put the orphan with the mother who was mourning?  The two do not accept each other.  The shepherd would then, slit the throat of the dead lamb and wash the orphan in its blood and then the living mother would recognize it as her own and allow it to feed.

This is a great picture of how Jesus' blood covers me, an orphan in need of adoption, a sinful orphan who God can now accept because of Jesus' blood.  I don't understand why God chose this way to bring us forgiveness and communion with him, but I know the story cannot be told without realizing Christ's death, freely given up to fulfill the Father's plan.  I am glad I have this wonderful story to tell my grandchildren and I don't want them to miss any of it's significance.  May God build on this firm foundation in their lives, and may they come to know the God who would give his very life because he loves them so much.

"My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand."

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