“Easter Is About Christ, So Shoot The Bunny”
I. Looking At The Word “Easter”
A) The timeline of events after the crucifixion of Christ
- For us Gentiles and Jewish believers in Jesus Christ, we celebrate “Easter” once a year. It is a big deal. It is probably the third most, and should be foremost celebration of the year.
- I believe that Christmas is first, Thanksgiving is second, and Easter is third. I could be wrong.
- CHRISTMAS – Although Christ’s birth is important and necessary because without His birth there could be no death, burial, or resurrection. So it is important.
- THANKSGIVING – It’s a time for us to be thankful for the land God gave us Gentiles to honor Him and glorify Him and mostly to worship Him.
- EASTER – for us Gentiles and Jewish believers, it is a time to celebrate the death burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This holiday should be No.1, not 3.
FOR THE CHRISTIAN, EASTER IS…
- The and celebration and remembrance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- This started a chain of events that gives us validity to our belief and celebration.
- 40 days later, Jesus is seen by Mary Magdalene, over 500 people, and the apostles. Jesus did not go to the priests, or any member of the church in Jerusalem or Rome.
- The day of Pentecost. The word “Pentecost” means “50th” and refers to the Jewish celebration called feast weeks (Ex. 34:22, 23) or harvest (Lev. 23:16), which was celebrated 50 weeks after Passover in May/June. It was to commemorate the “Exodus” from Egypt.
- The day of Pentecost an offering of “first fruits” was made (Lev. 23:20).
- The NEW day of Pentecost (Which God created because of His Son) was when the Holy Spirit came as the “first fruits” to the believers inheritance (II Cor. 5:5, and Eph. 1:11, 14).
- Those gathered in the church at that time were also the “first fruits” of the full harvest of all believers to come after.
- Look at the page titled “Events of Passion Week” given with this Easter sermon. This gives you the events of Jesus Christ as recorded in God’s Word (The Holy Bible) at time of year about 2017 years ago.
B) Why Shoot the Bunny?
- Some may ask… So why is “Shoot the Bunny” in your Sermon title?
- You read the Bible all through it there is not one mention of a rabbit, bunny, or Easter egg. NOT ONE! Shoot the bunny, and crack the egg! They add no value whatsoever to the story relating to Easter, nor is the bunny relative to any biblical event of any nature.
- Where did the Easter Bunny come from?
- com – The Easter Bunny was a symbol of fertility, and really has nothing to do with the Christian holiday. It originally symbolized the Goddess Astaroth. “Easter” was stolen from the goddess Astaroth by the church with the intent of converting pagans. It was originally known as “Ashtar.”
- Wikopedia – The Easter Bunny (also called the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare) is a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter Eggs. Originating among German Lutherens, the “Easter Hare” originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behaviour at the start of the season of Eastertide.
- The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy, and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Clause, or the Christkind as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holidays.
- Why are these traditions so ingrained in Easter Sunday? And what do they have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Well, to be frank, nothing. Bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from pagan roots. These tropes were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honoring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. According to the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration – and the origin of the Easter Bunny – can be traced back to 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses.
- To answer the question… “Why shoot the bunny?” I mean no harm to wild or domestic bunny wabbits. I think of Elmer Fudd always chasing and trying to shoot at Bugs Bunny hollering “I’m gonna’ get you, you waskally wabbit!” and then he fires a couple of shots out of his shot gun hitting nothing.
- The reason I say “shoot the bunny” is to describe my feelings towards the idiocy and stupidity of the “bunny idea” at Easter time. It is a holy holiday for both Jew and Gentile. For the Jew it marks their deliverance from bondage to Egypt, and the Gentiles deliverance from sin and hell through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Shoot the bunny! The idea should be dead. The bunny and all his stupid eggs should be shot for even dirtying up our holy holiday! Shoot the waskally wabbit!
- So today…all throughout my message, you may hear me (or see me) say… “Shoot the Bunny!” It means kill “the idea” of the Easter Bunny.
C) The word “Easter” is in one passage of scripture
- There is only one place in the whole Bible that has the word “” The Greek word for Easter is “pascha” and means “Passover… (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it)”
- Here is the word “Easter” in Acts 12:1…Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex(torment, torture, to give trouble to) certain of the church. 2) And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3) And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions (4 soldiers , one for each watch through the night) of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
- This passage of Scripture is really the aftermath of the crucifixion of Christ when Rome was trying to remove all the evidence, silence all the apostle’s preaching, and put an end to this man called Jesus whom they thought was a false prophet. (Many Jews still believe that He was a false prophet.)
- You will note in verse 3b that is said… “Then were the days of unleavened bread.” This was the time that the Jews had many feasts going on daily, scripture reading, prayers in the synagogues, and altar sacrifices and families by the thousands lined the streets of Jerusalem to celebrate the biggest annual event among the Jews.
- You will note also in verse 4, that this is the exact type of activity done to Christ, as was His brother James mentioned in verse 1, and their intent was that as well for Peter.
BUT GOD HAD OTHER PLANS! So… SHOOT THE BUNNY !
II. About Crucifixion, and Christ Crucified?
- Jesus Christ’s crucifixion is mentioned in all 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), while His birth was only mentioned in 2 of the gospels (Matthew, Luke).
- The word “crucified” is mentioned (concerning Christ) 37 times (all in the New Testament).
- The word “crucifix or crucifixion” is not mentioned once.
- Crucifixion was a form of punishment or rather a “sentence” from the court of Rome that originally started with the Persians, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians. The Romans however perfected this art of torture while keeping the victims alive. Some people lasted long enough on the cross to have birds and animals eat on their flesh as they yet lived. Not only was this a painful death or penalty, it was shameful to the victim. It was considered a disgrace to those who hung on the tree and to the family of those victims.
- No one was ever tortured or purposely hung on a tree or a cross before the New Testament.
- There was a period of 400 years silence from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It could be that during this time, the Persians were practicing this kind of torture.
- Now let us move ahead some 433 years later to…
B) The trial of Jesus Christ
- Let us begin the Easter message mentioned starting with John 19:10…
- Verse 10)…Pilate announces his power – Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
- Christ denounces Pilate’s power – 11) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
- Pilate wants no part of the crucifixion –12) And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him:
- The Jews reject Jesus and challenge Pilate – 12b)…but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
- Pilate announces Jesus as their King – 13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14) And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
- The Jews reject Jesus again – 15a) But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.
- Pilate seeks release of guilt by a question 15b)…Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?
C) The Number 3
- The third rejection of Jesus Christ 15c)…The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
- You see that? Just as Peter denied Christ three times, before the cock crowed three times, so the Jews rejected Jesus three times also.
- The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible. It pictures completeness.
- The 3 righteous patriarchs before the flood were Abel, Enoch, and Noah.
- There are 27 books in the New Testament, which is 3 x 3 x 3, or completeness to the third power.
- Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest.
- He was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour of the day (9 a.m.) and died at the 9th hour (3 p.m.).
- There were 3 hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was suffering on the cross from the 6th hour to the 9th hour.
- Three is the number of resurrection.
- Christ was dead 3 full days and 3 full nights which is a total of 72 hours, before being resurrected on Saturday, April 8, just before sunset.
- Need I remind you of the Trinity involved with Easter during the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ… God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus is Crucified
- Now to continue our Easter message from John 19, and verse 16…
- Pilate washes his hands of the matter – 16) Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him
- Jesus Is Crucified – 17) And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18) Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
- I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that the story of our Savior does not end here. “SHOOT THE BUNNY” AMEN!
III. The Mockery and Shame at Easter
A) The mockery of the king
- This is where I really take offense to people putting their emphasis on the Easter Bunny, and eggs, and candy. It is all a mockery of a Holy Day, a sad day, but yet a happy day. It is a day of gladness for us Gentiles because we now are accepted as Holy before a just God who before… wrote us off, counted us unworthy of any inheritance in Heaven.
- But because of the cross, and because of Jesus blood that was shed on that cross, we… “PRAISE THE LORD,” are now considered to be His joint heirs of salvation.
“SHOOT THE BUNNY.”
- Now look at what Jesus suffered through mentally as he was crucified and suffered physically… John 19:19…And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
- I really want to say that this could possibly be the will of God moving through the king. WHY? Because Jesus is King of the Jews. Not only that, but King of the Gentiles, and King of kings, and Lord of lords.
- The rumor of Jesus being King of the Jews had been going around since His birth in Bethlehem. Jesus had been a thorn in the side of every king to fill an earthly throne. Now an end must come of this “king business” once and for all.
- So He will be hung on a tree as an example, to show the world what happens to those who claim to be a king and threaten the throne of the ruling king of Rome.
B) Jewish leaders denounce Jesus’ title
- Now look at John 19:20) This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and 21) Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22) Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
- This is exactly what these Jews will be judged for at the Great White Throne judgment. They will be judged for their rejection of God’s Son Jesus Christ.
- These Jews mentioned here are not just members of the church, but also members of the Sanhedrin (Head Council of the churches) over Israel.
- Pilate I believe was somewhat irritated at the Sanhedrin with their being picky as to what was written above Jesus’ head.
- Sometimes pastors and church leaders of all kinds can be a little too picky and less flexible on matters that really don’t matter. “It’s my way or the highway” they claim.
- They made it perfectly clear that they lay no claim to Jesus as their King.
- God will also make it perfectly clear to the Sanhedrin as to their home for all eternity being hell.
“SHOOT THE BUNNY!”
- Jesus never claimed to be “King of the Jews” on this earth anyway.
- Jesus stated earlier in John 18:36… “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
- Jesus never asked His disciples to fight for Him. He never asked His followers to take up weapons and defend His honor and His kingdom.
- God had already given Jesus many titles, many names, and many kingdoms. Now it was all made a mockery, disgrace to be Jewish, and their so-called king.
C) Soldiers strip Jesus of clothing and physical pride
- Now note with me in John 19:23…Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
- The custom of the time was this… When a person was announced as a “condemned” person by the Roman government, their clothing would then become the property of the executioners. In this case the 4 guards/soldiers.
- The term “his garments” would be His sandals, head covering, belt, and outer garments.
- “his coat” I believe that it refers to His “tunic.”The tunic was worn next to His skin (much like an old fashioned one piece underwear for men).
D) David’s Prophecy of this very event
- Go to Psalms 22, and we will look at how David writes of this event 1000 years before it happened…
- Look at verse 16) For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
- The word “dog” in the Bible sometimes meant… the animal dog. In the Bible a dog is a reference to a person of dislike, a person that is vile, wicked, stinky, bad attitude, not accepted of your kind. In the O.T. it was mostly a euphemism for a male prostitute.
- Now, in our interpreting of these verses to represent the death of Christ on the cross the “dogs” here could mean the soldiers, the Jews that hated Jesus.
- The word “compassed” means those dogs who “surrounded” or those who were around Jesus.
- “…the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:” Meaning… The “ brethren who have plotted against me” have made me feel like an outcast, a reject, among my own. Have you ever been rejected by someone you loved? It’s a feeling like no other. It tears and tugs at the soul of your heart. It makes you feel small, and unloved.
- The last part of verse 16… they pierced my hands and my feet. This obviously depicts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Strange enough though it is predicted so long before there were any piercings of any kind upon the children of God.
- Still in Psalms 22, look now at Verse 17) I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. This verse gives the idea of a naked body where the bones of the flesh are revealed to the public eye as to people staring in amazement at the sight. In this case the sight of such torture on a body.
- Note the similarities of John 19 and Psalms 22 here in verse 18) They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
- Remember, I said that according to Eastern history we understand that it was common for the person being charged with a crime would now hand over their clothing and garments to those persecuting. For the more valuable clothing they would bid (as in an auction) for the person’s “vesture” (expensive clothing) to keep fights from breaking out among those interested in particular pieces of clothing.
D) That Scripture might be fulfilled
- Back in John 19:24) They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
- This is what is great about Jewish history. They know the scriptures. They know it like a history buff. True historians they are.
- This exact phrase the Roman soldiers had heard recited in church or at bible study after dinner, or maybe even a Men’s retreat. Ya think?
- To fulfill scripture was to abide by the Law of God in His word, as was their practice among the courts of Law to divide the garments.
- They cared not for our Lord. They cared not for His clothing. They cared not for what it was worth for Him to be clothed before His own mother. They cared not that He was naked.
- You know what? I really don’t know that Jesus was all that concerned for His nakedness.
- WHY? Look at Paul’s word in II Corinthians 5:1…For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (our bodies after they die), we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (This is our glorified bodies). 2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (Body) which is from heaven:
- Who is “the Word?” Jesus. He knows what is written. Jesus knew exactly what Paul was writing before he wrote it. Jesus experienced it.
- Paul was saying that children of God know this… that when we die our bodies are immediately changed into a glorified body given to us by our new Father (God) who created the old body that was always a problem, and pain to bear in it’s weakness so that we would appreciate the new body made by His hands. PTL and “SHOOT THE BUNNY.”
- II Corinthians 5:3) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found nake 4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
- What did Paul mean by “we shall not be found naked?” The word naked means no clothing right. What is clothing for? I mean, why do you wear clothes?
- We wear clothes to protect our skin from the sun’s rays. We also wear them to protect our embarrassment of being naked or from others seeing what God said was for our spouse’s eyes only.
- In the above verses, Paul is saying that we “groan” or should we say… “complain” of the things in this body that “burden” (such as wrinkles, arthritis, heartache, a cold, broken arms or legs, etc.) We complain because we would rather be in Heaven with our new bodies.
- When I think of Jesus on the cross suffering in pain and agony, I believe that the only thing that kept Him alive and allowed Him to suffer “FOR US” is the fact that He knew what His heavenly body was like, he now knew what the earthly body is like, so he “groaned” in desire for the earthly body to pass away and receive His glorified body.
- Now here is another aspect of being naked… Look at verse 6) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
- Being “naked” is also the absence of clothing in a physical sense. Being “naked” in the spiritual sense means to be absent from the Lord.
- This too is what Christ was thinking about the entire time He was on this earth. I can hear our Lord talking to His Father and saying… “Father, I miss you. This earthly body is nothing like the one you gave me in heaven. I miss your holiness, I miss your face, I miss your protection. I miss your spirit and the angels there. I can’t wait Father to see you again.”
- This should be our thoughts also. Daily groaning for the time we get to see our new Father. Because the old Father (Satan) has done nothing but cause us grief and pain, misery and woe, loss and suffering.
E) The End Is Near
- During Christ’s trial, His torture of the scourge, the ridicule of the crowd, the mocking of the soldiers, the piercing of His hands and feet, and the hours of hanging on the cross I know He knew… “My time of pain is near an end.”
- I don’t know how old everyone is, but know this, God is no “respecter of persons.” He doesn’t always allow people to live a full life. Some die at birth while others live to see 100. This is why it is vitally important for us to live each day for Christ, thanking Him for the work He performed for us on the cross. Do you know my Jesus? Come today.
- In John 19:30, Jesus said… “It is finished” meaning the work He was sent to do is finished.
(Don’t waste a bullet on shooting the Bunny)