Talking to my children, I was surprised to learn their teachers focused on St. Patrick last month but Jesus Christ didn’t get a mention. I’m not suggesting preaching or proselytizing in the public school (can you imagine?), but shouldn’t one of the largest religious holidays in the world get a mention – in the interest of education?
In Scotland, I served as a chaplain in the local High School and I was delighted to share at this time of year. I didn’t bash students over the head with the Bible. I shared about a unique historical event that occurred two thousand years ago - still celebrated around the world. In the interest of education, the school respected the students enough to give them the information.
Easter requires an explanation, for many people. It makes no sense to celebrate the cross – an instrument of death and torture. Why hold up this as a sacred symbol? Popular atheist, Richard Dawkins rolls his eyes at Easter, suggesting that if Jesus died in modern times, Christians would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks.
So why do Christians focus on the cross?
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, highlighting that the cross makes no sense to the Jews – they are motivated by miracles. It leaves the Greeks scratching their heads – they are wowed by wisdom. Christians focus on what seems like foolishness to the world, yet for every believer it’s the greatest story ever told.
Remember, John 3:16 comes after 3:14-15…
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life...”
In Numbers 21, God sent poisonous snakes among Israel, as a result of their disobedience. Yet God told Moses to fashion a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and live. God brought judgment on the people, but He graciously provided the antidote for anyone who was willing to turn to him.
The Bible makes a direct comparison: our sin brings us under God’s judgment – which leads to death, but God graciously provided the antidote for anyone who is willing to turn to him and trust in the power of Jesus’ death on the cross.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
For those who roll their eyes at Easter, Christians ought to be prepared to give an answer, explaining the reason why we focus on the cross – since information is education...