By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

With egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and chick-shaped marshmallow treats in plentiful supply, it can be all too easy to lose focus of the Easter holiday’s true meaning. In the midst of the weekend’s merriment, local pastor Wayne Stewart of Porter Springs Baptist Church  is encouraging everyone to keep the real reason for the celebration in the forefront of their minds.

“As a pastor, preaching on Easter Sunday is kind of like being on Superbowl’s winning team,” said Stewart. “That’s our Superbowl, and we already know that our team won.”

Stewart went on to describe the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead as “the hinge point of all of history.

“If Christ did not walk out of the grave, then everything we do is in vain,” he pointed out. “C.S. Lewis said, ‘If Christianity is not real, then it’s of no importance. But if Christ walked out of that grave, it is of the utmost importance.’ And we believe He did.”

As Stewart pointed out, evidence can be found throughout history to support the belief that Christ did, indeed, rise from the grave.

“His disciples were all martyred,” Stewart said. “Nobody dies for a lie. So, we believe that it was real and exactly as the Bible said. And you have hundreds of years before Jesus came bearing out what would happen.

“I challenge anybody to read Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 and not see Christ portrayed in those two passages,” Stewart continued.

In its concluding verses, Psalm 22 promises, “Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn:  He has done it!” (Psalm 22:30-31, NIV)

Readers of Isaiah 53 are reminded of the sacrifice made by Jesus for all mankind through the fifth and sixth verses of the passage.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6, NIV)

Jesus conquering death and the grave, Stewart said, is “the foundation of our faith as believers.

“Jesus bore our sins. He went to the cross as our substitute. He died, and He confirmed it all – every promise that God ever made was confirmed when He walked out of that tomb,” Stewart said.

Some of the area churches hosting sunrise services on Easter Sunday include the following:

• New Hope Missionary Baptist Church – 7:30 a.m. – Grapeland

• Oak Grove Baptist Church – 7 a.m. – Grapeland

• First United Methodist Church Grapeland – 7 a.m.

• Sunset Christian Church with Felders Chapel Assembly and Percilla Community Church – 7 a.m. – Grapeland

• Truly God’s Country Cowboy Church – 6 a.m. – Crockett

• Weldon Baptist Church – 7 a.m. – Lovelady

• Lake Baptist Church – 7 a.m. – Crockett

• Primera Iglesia Bautista – 6 a.m. – Crockett

• Cedar Creek Missionary Baptist Church – 7 a.m. – Palestine

• Porter Springs Baptist Church with Union Prairie Baptist Church – 7 a.m. – Crockett

• Crockett First Assembly will be hosting a 9:30 a.m. outdoor service with an Easter egg hunt immediately following.

Crockett United Pentecostal Church will present an Easter drama Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m. with a repeat performance Easter Sunday at 10 a.m. Lunch, a candy rain and an Easter egg hunt will follow.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.