The Salvation Army URL has changed to salvationarmy.org.auFind out more
31 March 2021
Understanding God's love for humankind
Words Faye Michelson
For me, Easter time is all about family. For a start, the extra days of leave on either side of the weekend create an ideal opportunity for families to snatch a mini-break during the warm, settled autumn weather. Beach, bush, rivers – camping spots and holiday destinations are booked out months in advance and our collective desire to grasp happy experiences will surely be intensified this post- COVID-lockdown Easter.
But, whether you’re fortunate enough to have a holiday or whether you’re staying home, there’s plenty of Easter-themed fun to enjoy. Who hasn’t got up early to hide numerous chocolate eggs and rabbits around their backyard or camping ground? I have. And who hasn’t sprinkled flour over the family-room floorboards to try to create Easter bunny pawprints? I have, unfortunately. What a mess!
Does your Easter tradition include the extended family gathering for long, leisurely meals? Fish on Good Friday, lamb on Easter Sunday and a valuable time to reconnect with relatives who may only gather together a few times a year. And perhaps, squeezed in among all this delightful activity, visits to church on Friday and Sunday to hear about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again on the third day.
Yes, Easter is all about family – the family of God. Family is at the heart of why Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday and came back to life on Sunday.
It’s a hard concept to grasp, this divine love Jesus and God had for humankind. It was a love so deep it resulted in death. One of the most well-known verses in the Bible, John chapter 3, verse 16, explains it like this: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
God loved us so much that he gave his beloved son to die so that we could have everlasting life with him? And his son agreed?
It’s a foreign idea for us, centuries away from the ancient biblical ritual of God’s people offering sacrifices to make themselves acceptable to him. These sacrifices symbolised the eradication of their sin so that they could continue to have a relationship with the holy God. When Jesus took on the weight of humanity’s collective sin to be the sacrifice, he became the means back to God for those who believed in him and understood what he had done. And God, who wanted to restore our broken relationship with him, allowed his only son to take on humanity’s sin.
When Jesus rose on Easter Sunday, a new era rose with him for those who knew him as their Lord. Because Jesus died on that Friday and came back to life, we can belong to the family of God. We can know his love, we can call him our father, we can become his sons and daughters.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John chapter 3, verse 1). Easter is a time for family. God’s family.