He is risen<BR>Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection
To Christians, Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, King of Kings, Comforter, Counselor and Emmanuel, which means "God with Us."
At Easter, the man whom Christians believe is the Son of God is honored as the ultimate sacrifice – the Perfect Lamb.
For non-Christians, the full meaning of the Lamb of God as it relates to sacrifices may take some explaining, especially since they may not understand its significance for people today.
Christians believe that Jesus' life and death tied together all the prophesies of a messiah mentioned in the Old Testament, the first half of the Holy Bible. God promised to send a messiah to free his people– the Jews – from the old covenant's methods of forgiving sins.
As part of his old covenant, God expected offerings of the first lambs or goats that a family's herd yielded. Poorer families could use turtle doves. The family laid the dead animal on an altar, built a fire under it and burned it. They didn't eat the meat but allowed the flames to consume it.
When people offered sacrifices, they believed that God removed any sins they had committed in their lives. In addition, the sacrifice was their thanks to God for providing all the family's needs.
Christians believe that the prophesies in the Bible line up in the person of Jesus, a Jew born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, and that his death on a large, wooden cross was all part of God's plan to eliminate the need for people to offer animal sacrifices for sin.
Jesus' death immediately ended the old covenant and starting then, under the new covenant, believers can sincerely confess their sins directly to God in prayer and he forgives them. In addition, Christians symbolically sacrifice financially through tithing to honor God.
"The New Testament book of Hebrews' fourth, fifth and sixth chapters describes that we no longer need to present our sacrifices and prayers to an earthly priest," commented Darin Scates, senior minister of the Prescott Christian Church.
"Jesus Christ has superseded them all and has become our eternal High Priest, allowing us to go directly to our Heavenly Father."
At Easter, Christians also celebrate Jesus' resurrection from death. The Bible accounts that three days after he died and after his followers placed him in a tomb, Jesus came back to life.
The Bible recounts that Jesus lived on earth for another 40 days, then God took him up into the sky while his group of followers watched.
For Christians, Jesus' death and resurrection changed the entire relationship people had with God – something worth celebrating.
"There isn't any greater event in all of history than when the Son of God, who had been killed, rose from the dead," Pastor Scates said.
"And by this act, he offers forgiveness, the elimination of sins, to all of mankind if they will only surrender to Him."
Today, many churches celebrate Easter with special services, such as sunrise services and breakfasts, and music and drama produc-tions.