• September 19, 2014

What do Easter symbols represent?

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Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:00 am

If you’ve driven by the intersection of East Elms Road and Stan Schlueter Loop lately, you’ve seen it.

It looms large on the horizon, tall and stately. At night it is highlighted by spotlights. The majestic Texas flag waves boldly in the breeze.

The Texas flag is symbolic: blue stands for loyalty, white for purity and red for bravery. The single star represents all of Texas, its unity.

Easter has a plethora of symbols: Easter lilies, butterflies, colored eggs, and of course, the cross and the empty tomb. The symbols point to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

The Easter lilies are harbingers of spring when new life is abundant. But the shape, like a trumpet, reminds one of the proclamation of the Apostle Paul, that “the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The brilliant white color represents the purity that Christ’s cleansing blood creates.

Butterflies symbolize the change that takes place when a person undergoes the spiritual metamorphosis when the “perishable puts on the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).

Easter eggs symbolize fertility. A unique custom, legend or lore, is that Mary offered eggs to the soldiers to not crucify her son. When they refused, her tears turned to blood and splattered the eggs; thus coloring eggs became a tradition.

I’m not sure what the chocolate eggs represent. LOL seems appropriate here.

Cross most common symbol

The most common symbol of Easter is the cross. The two beams, one vertical, the other horizontal, remind me of Jesus’ response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” He summarized the Ten Commandments with the answer, “You shall love the Lord your God ... (and) love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40).

The first four Commandments are symbolized by the vertical bar and the final six Commandments are symbolized by the horizontal bar. The cross symbolizes God’s love.

The cross is more than a piece of jewelry; yet wearing it symbolizes belief that Jesus paid the price for our sins. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

A greater symbol of Easter, however, is the open tomb. Jesus’ resurrection is His victory (and ours) over sin and death.

I have been privileged to visit the proposed resurrection sites in Jerusalem. One is in the center of a large Catholic church, yet guarded by members of another religious order. It is dusty and stale.

The other is outside the walls of the Old City, in a refreshing park-like environment.

None of the scholars can say with certainty which is more valid, but I love the small sign on the rock cave of the second site. It quotes the angels announcement to the women on that first Easter morning: “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is not here, He is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6).

The best Easter symbol, however, may be the life that demonstrates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Like the Texas flag, a believer’s life should symbolize loyalty, purity and Jesus’ bravery. Is your life a symbol of “Christ In you, the hope of glory”? (Colossians 1:27).

Happy Easter!

The Rev. JIMMY TOWERS is pastor of LifeWay Fellowship in Killeen.

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