April 10, 2023

Rabbit or Lamb?

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

—  1 Corinthians 5:7

As we celebrated Jesus’ resur­rec­tion yesterday, we may have seen or heard references to the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and chocolate. In ancient Europe, the Germanic goddess Eostre (Eastre in Old English) was celebrated during the spring equinox. Rabbits and eggs represented fertility and the revival of life in springtime. Since Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred at the same time of year, the church in Europe tried to replace that pagan tradition with the worship of Christ and the celebration of new life in him. They even used the name “Easter” to try to Christianize the springtime holiday.

But that hasn’t worked very well, has it? The celebration of Christ’s victory over death has nothing to do with rabbits, eggs, or chocolate. Sadly, all of that can distract us from reflecting on the gift of life we have through the death and resurrection of Jesus. But in Christ we can remember another ancient tradition—Passover, with its sacrificed lamb and celebration of deliverance from slavery. That pointed to the gift of Jesus, who came to free us from the slavery of sin.

So let’s focus on the Lamb of God, Jesus—our Savior and the giver of full life—which is far greater than the seasonal refreshing of life in spring. This doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with feasting or a bit of chocolate, but let’s be sure to worship the one true God who loves us and sent his Son to save the whole world!

Lord, guide us to remember and celebrate all that you have done for us in Christ. Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Rev. Hernandes Dias Lopes grew up in a Christian home in Brazil. Following his 1981 graduation from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Campinas, Brazil, he served two congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Brazil. In 2000, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Rev. Lopes has been the voice of the television program Verdade e Vida (“Truth and Life”) since 2006. In 2010 he was appointed Portuguese ministry leader for Back to God Ministries International. Rev. Lopes and his wife, Tinha, have two college-age children.

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