Just a few weeks ago the world was buzzing with Easter Egg candy, marshmallow peeps, and assorted candy. The holiday has passed and we are wishing that we had not eaten so much candy. But wait one minute, was the candy, Easter Bunny, and Easter Egg hunts, all for not? No, each had their value to help us celebrate the holiday. What holiday? The Festival of Firstfruits! Okay, some of you are saying, I’m lost. I have never heard of the Festival of Firstfruits. In the book of Leviticus of the Old Testament of the Bible, it speaks of the feasts that we are not to forget. Leviticus 23 verses 9- 14. During the feast, “a lamb is to be sacrificed as a burnt offering to the Lord.”
Easter is about the lamb – Jesus, the Christ, being our sacrificial lamb to redeem us from our sins and offer us the opportunity to accept his death on the cross for our sins and be set free. As a person accepts the free gift of Jesus dying as our substitute for the sins we have committed, they are set free from the punishment of sin which is spiritual death. This spiritual death keeps us alienated from God and unable to experience the fruits of His love for us. During the festival of Firstfruits, one would bring the first grain, the first crops or in other words, the first fruit of the season. It is the celebration of the new life that we have around us. Even now we have new life around us. The trees are budding, the oats are growing in the fields and we have the opportunity to be set free from our sins and to be made new in Christ.
reviveOHIO:: Shelby County is about that very thing in your midst. Churches, pastors, and laity are all beginning to join together to share this very simple and clear message to all that will hear. Jesus Christ died on the cross so that you would not have to pay for the sins of your life for eternity. Jesus died to set you free. With the new freedom also comes a new life, a new future, a new purpose and a new love. All of these things are found in God and only God is able to cleanse you from all the garbage that we carry around each and every day. As a minister, I remember that day, I said, “Yes” to Jesus and asked him to forgive me for all that I had done. Jesus and I have had that conversation since to be forgiven of mistakes I made after saying I would follow Him. Know that no one is too dirty, no is too far down the path to not be forgiven, nor is it too late as we walk on this earth to cry out to Jesus. Right now people are praying for you to know Jesus as Lord. Right now people are making plans to share the message of Jesus on your street, in your neighborhood and near you. To be involved or to ask more questions, please email, firstname.lastname@example.org . Easter may be over, but the promise of the cross remains available to all that will accept and believe. Today is a new day. Celebrate Jesus today!
The writer is the pastor of Immanuel UCC in Kettlersville and St. Peter’s Church in New Bremen.