When I was growing up, my parents surprised my brother, sister and me with a white rabbit as an Easter gift. We came up with an “original” name for our new pet: Easter.
Just like chocolate and jelly beans, the Easter bunny can sometimes be the only other thing people know about the holiday.
Obviously, the true meaning is about so much more.
Yet, engaging the culture with the message of the gift that Jesus offers of love, forgiveness and new life doesn’t have to be blurred.
The Apostle Paul writes about the power of the message in his letter to the Christians in Rome, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
So how do we make the message relevant without diluting it?
Here are five ways to communicate the gospel message in your home, church and community.
Think about using all of your senses to experience Jesus.
On an audio Bible, listen to the gospel stories from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Hear the people shouting to crucify Jesus. Reflect on what Jesus went through to die for your sins. Remember how His death on the cross gave you new life if you have accepted Him as your Savior. Before Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He was a perfect, sinless sacrifice dying on the cross a death we deserved.
Music is also a powerful way to tell the story of who God is and what He has done. One of my favorite Easter memories has been going to Easter dramas. A church I attended in Portland, Oregon, had a huge Easter production, which had Jesus rising from the dead during the song "Arise My Love."
Consider listening to some contemporary songs that communicate the Easter message:
Or perhaps you connect better through more traditional Easter music, like:
Add your other suggestions in the comments below!
"The Story of Jesus for Children" film, adapted from the film JESUS and the Gospel of Luke, is available in 158 languages. One year, my wife and I helped show the film to children involved in the Awana program at our church. Instead of having them watch the movie in one sitting, we showed the film in three segments over three weeks. My wife and I still joke about how we remember the children saying, “Aw, you always stop at the good part.”
Other movies that you can show at your church, in your home or community include the animated film "The Prince of Egypt" (watch trailer or order online).
Teenagers and adults may prefer the movie "Risen," about a Roman army officer’s (played by Joseph Fiennes) search for Christ after His Resurrection.
Other options are "JESUS" and "Magdalena: Through Her Eyes," which are available in DVD formats and can be streamed for free at jesusfilmmedia.org or the Jesus Film Media app.
For children especially, having a tangible activity with a gospel message can help. You can help them make gospel bracelets or necklaces using beads with colors like black, red, white, gold and green, and explaining the plan of salvation with Scripture verses. Many options are available online.
You could also use a wordless book, or even a colorful basketball or soccer ball, like the ones sold by J316Ministries.com, as a way to present the gospel during a sports outreach.
Serve a Passover Seder meal and read the Passover story in Exodus chapter 12. The bread and bitter herbs of the meal can help you understand how the Old Testament Passover story is a foreshadowing of Jesus the Messiah coming and being the Passover lamb to save us from our sins. You can schedule a Passover presentation at your church through Jews for Jesus.
Make and bake resurrection cookies that help explain the gospel story to your children.
As each ingredient is prepared for the recipe, the object lesson is explained through each step, and the Scripture lesson that goes with that point is read. For example, have each child smell the vinegar and tell him about when Jesus was given vinegar to drink on the cross (John 19:28-30). Once the oven is preheated and all the cookies are on the cookie sheet, turn off the oven and leave the cookies overnight. In the morning, the cookies are ready and have hollow centers to remind us of the empty tomb.
(For more, read Easter Cookies: A Memorable Way to Teach Kids the Resurrection.)
Each year, we celebrate Easter as a fresh reminder of what Christ has done for us. I hope these ideas help make Easter more meaningful in your home, church and community.
More Easter devos and outreach ideas:
This article originally appeared in Cru’s former magazine, Worldwide Challenge.
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