"Easter means that it's almost like Christmas," says Joe, 8.

I suppose Joe likes toys better than candied eggs. Easter is a time to celebrate, but sometimes chocolate-covered bunnies and eggs get in the way of its true meaning.

"Easter means that Jesus walked down the street and people held palm leaves," says Cory, 9.

Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, is a time when Christians celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Although Jesus rode a donkey instead of walking, Cory is right about the palm leaves.

For people living in a modern society, it's easy to miss the significance of waving palm leaves. In the ancient Middle East, palm leaves were associated with triumph and victory. Think of palm waving as an ancient version of the high-five, and you'll get the idea.

If you're not wild about palm trees, think again. It's a tree with heavenly roots. The Apostle John records a scene in heaven: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands." (Revelation 7:9)

At the time of Jesus' triumphal entry, religious leaders were divided over his ministry. By riding a donkey into a crowd of waving palm branches and shouts of "Hosanna to the son of David," Jesus provoked religious leaders to action.

Jesus didn't come to win a popularity contest, but to fulfill the prophecies of his birth -- suffering and triumph over death. Even his ride into Jerusalem was foretold by the ancient prophet Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9)

"Easter means new life to me," says Hillary, 12. "It reminds me of how Christ died for the sake of my soul, and how he rose from the dead. I can testify because of Easter, that my Savior, Jesus Christ, lives forevermore!"

New life is the essence of Easter. Few expected this new life to come through an ignoble death on a cross in between two criminals. Even though Jesus taught his disciples that a seed must die before new life can spring forth, they didn't understand that he was the seed from which a new creation would begin.

The resurrection life that broke the bonds of death on Easter morning will eventually engulf this present world where death still rears its ugly head. The Bible personifies this physical world as groaning in birth pains, waiting for the day when God's new creation will be fully revealed. (Romans 8:18-25) It's easy to forget that death is an intruder and not part of God's original plan.

For Christians, death should not be feared, because the resurrection life that triumphed on Easter morning resides in them. The transition from a corruptible body to an incorruptible one will be glorious. God's goal for Christians is to make them like his resurrected son. The challenge for all believers is to let God begin the work he will complete when all believers are brought into conformity with his son.

Think about this: If you're a Christian who thinks of Easter as only Jesus' resurrection and triumphal ascent into heavenly realms, consider this. The Apostle Paul challenged all Christians to live the resurrection life now. Although our fleshly bodies wait for their final transformation, our spirits possess all of God's life.

Memorize this truth: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19)
Ask this question: Are you experiencing the power of Jesus' resurrection life?


Download the "Kids Color Me Bible" for free at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 2006 Carey Kinsolving