So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:18-19
It was the kind of story that the news service would only carry around Easter. On April 2nd, Reuters News Service told how a New Zealand environmental group wanted to find a new symbol for Easter. That’s right, they wanted to dump the Easter bunny.
It seems the rabbits originally brought to New Zealand to begin an unsuccessful fur trade had been multiplying like, well, like rabbits. A spokesman for the group said the bunnies were “an environmental curse” destroying sparse vegetation, which created perfect conditions for widespread erosion. The group hopes that a new symbol for Easter will enable people to change their thinking about rabbits by replacing words like cute and cuddly with (to their way of thinking) the more descriptive words, disastrous and damaging.
In years past, the group has proposed other alternative symbols like the Easter Kiwi (the chicken sized bird, not the fruit). Somehow, the idea of an Easter Kiwi hopping down the Kiwi trail didn’t catch on.
I’m not surprised.
So what do you think would be a better symbol for Easter than a bunny? Over the centuries the brilliant artists of Christendom have come up with a few. Let’s see, there’s the beautiful butterfly that breaks free of its death-like cocoon. It’s easy to understand why the butterfly has often been a symbol of resurrection. Then, of course, there is the familiar symbol of the chicken that comes out of its hard-shelled confinement. The non-hardboiled egg manages to appropriately convey Easter’s concept of life-out-of-death.
Can anyone think of a symbol that best represents Easter?
I’ve got one. How about the Savior’s empty tomb? That grave, better than anything else I can think of, points to Jesus who IS Easter. The empty grave is the first symbol that speaks of a living, Lord Jesus Christ, the Defeater-of-death who comes to us with His gift of peace. The vacant sepulcher lets us know that Jesus Christ, the Conqueror of the grave, stands before us and assures us that our sins are forgiven, our debts our paid, and ‘because He lives, we shall live also.’ (John 14:19)
Do you want a sign or a symbol for Easter? May I suggest, for your consideration, the Savior’s borrowed and ever-empty grave?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, as the world celebrates the awakening of life after winter, may I, as your redeemed child, rejoice in the resurrection of my Savior. May I see your empty tomb as the best and greatest symbol of the victory that you have won for humankind’s salvation. In Your name. Amen.