— The meaning of Easter
In several past letters, I encouraged everyone to read the Gospel as Jesus preached it in the New Testament. Easter is almost here, so it seems relevant to point out an almost forgotten purpose for the crucifixion of Jesus.
To the religious leaders of His day, Jesus was a troublemaker and a whistle blower. He exposed those leaders as a bunch of phonies, more interested in enriching themselves than serving God or the needs of the people. He called them hypocrites, to their faces. So those leaders stirred the people up, and on false charges, duped the Romans into doing their dirty work and had Jesus executed as a criminal, basically for telling the Truth and standing His ground.
Before an execution the Romans felt their hands were “clean” because they beat a confession out of a prisoner, whether they were guilty or not. So Pilate had to say “I find no fault in this man,” and wash his hands in a basin, because Jesus had nothing to confess.
Jesus once told the Pharisees to go and figure out what this means: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” It means He does not want or need our sacrifices or religious rituals. He came to tell us He prefers we learn to have mercy on one another if we hope to go to Heaven and want God to have mercy on us.
When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament and the age of the New Testament began. Jesus said the New Testament was written in His blood. If he had not completed the mission God sent Him to accomplish, had not died on the cross the way He did, no one would have ever heard of the New Testament, in which Jesus tells how He was willing to die to pay the ransom to set us free from the prison of sin and direct us onto the path that leads to Heaven.
The teachings concerning sacrificial offerings for the sins of the people were perpetuated by those wanting to continue living by the Old Testament. This has gone on by word of mouth for so long it has come to the point that most preachers, and other religious types, are only repeating what they have heard others say, without looking it up for themselves to see if it agrees with the teachings of Jesus.
I hope we will all take the time to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, so we can see clearly what is in agreement, and what is not.
May the true meaning of Easter come to all our hearts and minds.