FamilyLife Today® Podcast

What’s the Hype about Easter? Bob Lepine

with Bob Lepine | March 18, 2024
Play Pause

Easter! Is there more than candy and egg hunts? Bob Lepine breaks it down in his book "Twelve Things You Probably Didn't Know about Easter," revealing the real deal behind this holiday. Let's dive in to find out what makes Easter more than just a day of celebration.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Easter! Is there more than candy and egg hunts? Bob Lepine breaks it down in his book “Twelve Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Easter,” revealing the real deal behind this holiday.

MP3 Download Transcript

What’s the Hype about Easter? Bob Lepine

With Bob Lepine
March 18, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Shelby: Hey, Shelby Abbott here! Before we get started with today's program, I want you to pause and imagine yourself, with your spouse, sitting on two deck chairs in a very warm and beautiful environment on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. After you're done hanging out with your spouse and relaxing, getting some sun, you head over and have a romantic dinner together, and then go to hear an amazing message that helps to encourage you in loving your spouse and walking with God.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the 2025 Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. We're having a sale right now, and it's a great time to save big on this incredibly unique environment to enjoy working on your marriage, being intentional in your walk with God, and doing it all in places like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, and Miami, Florida. If that sounds interesting to you, it's a great time to save up to $400.00 per stateroom.

Head over to, or you could check out the link in today's show notes.


Bob: The Easter story is not good advice. It's good news! We can share good advice, but what they really need to hear is good news. The good news is that the tomb is empty, and Jesus is alive.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.


Dave: Alright, I've got a question for you: childhood Easter memories? I didn't tell you I was going to ask this, so I don't even know what you're going to say.

Ann: I think the first one, if you live in the north, you know this is a memory of—

Dave: —cold?

Ann: —trying to find Easter eggs outside, in the spring, when it's freezing cold, and you're in your pajamas. [Laughter] That's one of the worst ones. But I will say, we had an Easter recently with one of our older sons who's married with four kids, and it was Easter breakfast. I remember, he pulled out the Resurrection Eggs.

Dave: Oh, yes!

Ann: Most people know what that is, especially if you've been around FamilyLife for a while. But he went through the entire gospel with the eggs. And his kids, at the time, I think were seven, five, three, and one; and the older ones were riveted, asking question after question. I remember tears coming down my eyes, thinking, “I never knew the story of Easter.”

Dave: Yes, that's good stuff, and you can still get those Resurrection Eggs at But [do] you know what? We've got sort of our own “Resurrection Egg.” [Laughter] I don't know how I came up with that.

Bob: Back from the dead, ladies and gentlemen! — [Laughter]

Dave: —he is back from the dead! [Laughter]

Ann: I have a smile on my face. I'm so happy. Bob, you're like one of our best friends, and you're with us today.

Dave: Welcome back, Bob Lepine—a cracked egg! [Laughter]

Bob: It is great to be with you guys and to be back in the studio and doing this again. So, thank you for having me on today!

Ann: Oh man, Bob, we love you! We love all that you've done and what you continue to do. You're inspiring because you keep chasing Jesus. And even some of the stuff you've been writing lately: we had you on, and we talked about your Christmas book.

Dave: Are you becoming a “Chreaster”? [Laughter] You wrote a Christmas book and now an Easter book.

Bob: Yes, that's right. CEO: that's what they call it. “Christmas and Easter Only”—

Dave: —yes. [Laugher]

Bob: —"the CEO Christian.” I was approached—you guys know this story; I was approached—a couple of years ago by a publisher who said, “We want to create a small book of about 60-70 pages that has unchurched people in mind; a book that is about Christmas, that could be given to them as a Christmas gift to introduce them to the message of Christmas.”

So, I wrote a book called The Four Emotions of Christmas, and it was very well received; close to 100,000 copies of that book were distributed that first year, and it sold well again this past Christmas.

So, they came back and said, “What about The Four Emotions of Easter?” [Laughter] I said, “Well, I'm not sure that there are four emotions or that it fits the same framework.” But we talked, and I sat down and wrote a book called 12 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Easter, designed, again, to be a gospel giveaway; a tool you can put in the hand of a friend or relative—somebody who doesn't go to church—and say, “I just want to get you a copy of this book.”

It's inexpensive to get. It's like buying a greeting card to give to somebody. My thought is: you give them a copy of the book and say, “We would love to have you join us at our Easter service at our church. I don't know if you go to church somewhere, but we'd love to have you be a part of that.” That's what this book, 12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Easter—that's the goal.

I hope that FamilyLife Today listeners who get it will read it and find it helpful and learn some things; but I hope they won't hang on to it. I hope that when they're done reading it, they will pray and ask God, “God, who can I hand this book off to?” In fact, it's one of the reasons we're talking about Easter, even though it's still a couple of weeks away here. We want to talk about it today, so people can be thinking evangelistically about the holiday.

Dave: Yes, like you said, it's a great tool. And you have 12 things—I didn't know any of these 12.

Ann: I think you might have known a couple.

Bob: You knew this stuff about Jesus—

Dave: —well, yes!

Ann: —yes—

Bob: —and about His crucifixion.

Ann: [Laughter] That's what I was going to say.

Dave: —but I was thinking, “Bob did all kinds of study, because these are some unique facts that, especially for a person that's not really a church-going person, you find pretty interesting.” I'm guessing, as you talk about some of these peripheral things, they lead you to the center of Easter being the Resurrection. So, you could pick out any one of these you want, but give us a couple.

Bob: Well, I'll start off by saying that as I thought about the Easter holiday, I didn't know a lot of this as well. I started thinking, “So, what do we think about when we think about Easter? We think about jelly beans, and we think about bunnies, and we think about Easter lilies.” There are all of these traditions or trappings related to Easter, but I thought, “Where did that come from? Why is there a bunny connected to Easter?”

Ann: Yes; where does the Easter egg come from—

Bob: —right.

Ann: —and the Easter Bunny?

Bob: So, I started digging in to try to get all of that. One of the things I found, that I thought was really interesting, was a survey that was done about a decade ago in Britain, where they asked schoolchildren, “What is Easter all about?” It turned out that about half of the kids in Britain had no idea that Easter was a religious holiday.

Dave: Wow.

Bob: They thought that Easter—about a third of them said Easter—celebrates the birth of the Easter Bunny.

Ann: What?

Bob: Yes! Twenty-five percent of them thought Easter was connected with the invention of the chocolate egg. [Laughter] So, these are kids growing up in Britain who don't connect Easter with Jesus at all, but they do have a sense of Easter. They know about eggs and bunnies, which is what got me digging into where all of this came from.

So, candy, for example: one of the things that was really interesting here was, when I think of Easter, I think of Peeps. [Laughter] But what I realized was that, before there were Peeps in England, there was the Cadbury Egg.

Ann: Oh, yes! I do—

Bob: —now, have you had the Cadbury Eggs?

Ann: Yes, I love those!

Bob: I dug into where the egg—the origin of the Cadbury Egg—and how this was a part of revitalizing a candy business that was starting to decline. Peeps were another thing that used to be handcrafted around Easter before they became something that a company bought and turned into mass production. But the whole idea about candy, the connection between candy and Easter—it's really more about capitalism. They saw an opportunity and said, “Let's put some candy in here,” and consumers voted with their wallet.

But the fact that it was an egg and a bunny goes back to the idea that eggs are a symbol of new life, life breaking through. Bunnies are springtime animals, and bunnies reproduce rapidly. So, these animals and the eggs are just pictures, illustrations, or metaphors that people have found over the years, where they have said, “Jesus coming out of the tomb is like a chicken coming out of an egg.” So, the egg becomes kind of a symbol. Same way a youth pastor would use an illustration like this—

Dave: —yes.

Bob: — to help the kids lock it in.

Ann: Okay, Bob. Did you share those stories with your kids when they were younger, like if they asked, “Dad, what's the deal with the Easter Bunny or the candy?” Did you have anything that you said that was profound?

Bob: There was no Google back then, [Laughter] so I had no idea where this stuff came from. Like I said: I had to dig this out in order to learn it for myself. I mean, I think I had a vague understanding—

Ann: —yes.

Bob: —that bunnies, new life, spring: it's all about renewal. So, I had some sense of that, and I think we did talk with the kids as they were growing up about where some of this came from. We had a candy basket for them on Easter morning when they got up. We wanted to set the day apart and say, “This is special.” I think we probably also included in that candy basket something that had some spiritual significance, whether it was a tract that we gave them, or some icon; something that would remind them of Jesus.

We used Resurrection Eggs. I'm going to be using the Resurrection Eggs at our church coming up here in a week and a half [or] two weeks as we get the kids together for an Easter egg hunt. We will all come into the auditorium afterwards, to the worship center, and I'll go one by one through the Resurrection Eggs because—

Ann: —that's cool.

Bob: —we do. Here's the point: we've got an opportunity at this season that we ought to take full advantage of to talk with people about Jesus, whether it's your kids or your neighbors; whoever it is. Every year on the calendar, this pops up, and there are people who don't know the story, but there are people who are open to hearing about it because it's a holiday. It's on the calendar, and we ought to take advantage of that.

Give them a copy of this book. Do whatever you can do, but invite them to your church service on Sunday morning. Let them hear the greatest story ever told because—here's the point: the Easter story is not good advice. It's good news! That's what the gospel is. We can share good advice, but what they really need to hear is good news, and the good news is that the tomb is empty, and Jesus is alive!

Dave: I know that when I was pastoring, I saw a stat that said eight out of ten people, if invited to a holiday church service, primarily Christmas or Easter, will come because it is a holiday; they've heard about it. Some of them aren't exactly sure what it is, and so somebody has the guts—and it could just be walking across the yard to your neighbor and saying, “Hey, by the way, we're having a church service on Easter. [We would] love to have you come!”  It's crazy to think [that] a lot of them will come. We don't even invite.

When they get there, Bob, I know you're going to do Resurrection Eggs with the kids. What do you want people to understand about Easter? These are 12 things; little things we didn't know. But as you think about this being the centerpiece of Christianity, what do you think is important for people to understand well?

Bob: I think we can lock in on the basics. First of all, you can't understand the glory of Easter until you understand the tragedy of Good Friday. You have to understand the shame, the suffering, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the implications of that, the necessity of that, in order for sin to be atoned, in order for there to be an atoning sacrifice for us. So, if we're really going to talk about Easter—and by the way, on Easter morning, I think you should talk about an empty tomb as opposed to talking about the cross. It's a day of victory and celebration, and we should do that.

But the impact of Sunday morning is magnified when we have taken time before that to meditate on the tragedy, the passion of the Christ, and to recognize: this is something He did willingly. It was an unjust trial that He was exposed to. He was beaten and bruised and tortured. And as He says, at any point in this process, He could have called on a legion of angels, and the whole thing could have been done, but He willingly went to the cross for us to pay the price that we owe for our sin so that we could be reconciled to God.

It wasn't just the paying of the price on the cross, but it was the triumph of the resurrection. That's what folks need to understand. Jesus gained victory over sin and death and hell on Sunday morning when He stepped out of that tomb. He became—now the Book of Revelation (we were just in this in our church); He became—the “firstborn from the dead.” Hebrews calls Him that as well, and that means that He's the first person in all of human history who died once and came to life and never died again. There were other people, like Lazarus, who died once, was brought back to life, and then died again later.

But Jesus died once, came back to life, and is still alive. Those who follow Him, He has said, [paraphrase] “You will die once, come back to life, and you will never die again, and you will be with Me in Paradise.” That's the victory that's been won, and that's the message. That's the good news that we need to trumpet loudly on Easter Sunday.

Dave: [Do] you guys do a Good Friday service? We started doing that, and one of the hardest things—I don't know if you've had this—for me was, we decided (and we've been doing it for a decade) to end Good Friday with Him on—He's dead. He's in the tomb.

Bob: Yes, yes.

Dave: My personality is sort of like, “We [have] got to wrap this thing with at least some joy. We don’t want to send people out in the dark.” But we literally turn the lights off, and everybody walks out quietly, depressed, because you want to feel what it felt like, and what the disciples probably felt like: hopeless. So that, when they walk back in on Saturday or Sunday, the tomb is empty, and it's a whole different thing. Is that what you do?

Bob: That's exactly what we do. We spend about an hour singing hymns, meditating on the cross, hearing the Scriptures read again, and then thinking together about the willingness of Jesus to go to the cross for us; and trying to clear up some of the confusion that there is around the death of Christ. Some of the things that people—they have misconceptions about His death; we just want to make sure they're thinking biblically about that.

But just like you, Dave, we want to end it that night with silence and darkness. We leave it with a very sober, somber—we want the weight of the event to be felt by all of us.

Ann: Bob, talk to families now that still have kids in their homes. What could that look like, a Good Friday? Because I know that we wanted our kids to understand Easter, and that includes Good Friday. What could a parent say and talk about at their home, even like that Good Friday evening? The kids might say, “Why is it ‘Good Friday’?”

Bob: Yes. First of all, I think you don't wait until Friday. I think you start talking about it all through Holy Week. I think the week provides you with lots of opportunities.

You start on the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday, and you talk about the Triumphal Entry, and the children who were out there waving palm branches and laying them down as Jesus came into Jerusalem. You talk about what He experienced during the week, and the conflict in the temple courtyard with the money changers that took place, and the questions that were being asked of Him, and the people who were out to murder Him.

I think of a nine-year-old boy who's hearing the story about a man who's just come to town, and there are people out to get Him. They want to get Him, and they want to put Him to death. A nine-year-old boy or girl is going to be right in the middle of that: “What happened? Did He hide? Where did He go? What did He do?”

Ann: Even that you talked about the 18 laws that were broken—

Bob: —yes.

Ann: —to condemn Jesus to death on Good Friday. I thought that was fascinating.

Bob: It's really clear if you look at how—from one o’clock in the morning on Good Friday until nine o’clock in the morning when Jesus was crucified, there were three, actually six, trials that took place during that time. These Pharisees, who were sticklers for the law, were violating the law right and left, because it wasn't about the law. It wasn't about God. They wanted done what they wanted done.

There was a trial before Caiaphas, and then there was a trial before Annis. There was the trial before the Sanhedrin, and then there was Pilot, then King Herod, and then back to Pilot. The thing—Pilot didn't want Jesus killed. He was looking for every way to end this whole skirmish without having to put Jesus to death.

But the crowd insisted and demanded that Jesus be put to death. Even when Pilot came forward and said, “Okay, here's a guy who's a really bad guy. He's a robber and a thief. His name is Barabbas. Here's Jesus. I have a tradition: we can let one of these two guys go. Who do you want?” He thought for sure they would say, “Don't turn the robber back out into the streets.” They said, “Give us Barabbas. Crucify Jesus.”

I think we can tell these stories to our kids; but I would use the whole week. I would take time each day during Holy Week so that when you get to Friday, they understand that Jesus went willingly to the cross. It was not against His will. He could have stopped this, but He chose to go. The reason He chose to go was because He loves us, because He wanted to reconnect us to God. The only way we could be reconnected to God was by His payment of the debt we owed.

Dave: One of the things I like is how you end the book with Chapter 12: “Jesus Welcomes Doubters.” I was thinking, as parents teaching this story to our kids—toddlers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, we're going to have some doubters; and maybe they have the courage to say, “Dad or Mom, I don't know if I buy this.”

Talk to us a little bit about what you wrote about there, that Jesus welcomes that with Thomas and therefore—

Bob: —exactly! One of His disciples got the nickname “Doubting Thomas” because, in spite of the testimony of faithful witnesses, in spite of those who said, “We've seen Him,” Thomas says, “No, this is just beyond belief. I don't know what you guys are thinking. I know what you were drinking. I don't know what's going on here.” But he says, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails and place my finger in the mark of the nails, place my hand in His side, I will never believe.” He puts up a wall that says, “I must have evidence.”

Here's the thing: Jesus is okay with that. Jesus, when He comes to Thomas, says: “Okay, I'll meet you where you are. I'll answer your doubts. I'll deal with your doubts.” Of course, He does then say, “You have believed because you've seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe.”

I think there is something to the idea —I don't think we should celebrate doubt. The Bible—there's no place in the Bible where the Bible says, “Doubt's a good thing”. No, the Bible says, “Faith is a good thing.” But I think we could be courageous enough to welcome—Jesus welcomes doubters and says, “Bring your doubts to Me, and we'll deal with those.”

The message of Easter—in fact, the message of the entire Bible—is that God came to live among us as one of us; lived a perfect life, full obedience to the Father; died of brutal death on the cross. Three days later, His heart started beating again. He rose from death. We need to acknowledge: there are some unbelievable things I've just said.

C.S. Lewis was a doubter. He was a skeptic. He was an atheist for years. But God kept pursuing him, and C.S. Lewis came to the point where he recognized the weight of evidence was heavier than the weight of his doubts. That didn't mean that his doubts all went away. It just meant, when he sat down and examined the evidence, he said, “There's more evidence to support the resurrection of Christ and His Lordship than there is to deny it; so I will, by faith, respond to that.”

Dave: Yes! We have three sons, and some were more inclined to doubt than others. I know, as a parent, when they would question, I would feel like, “I better know my stuff. I better know—” Part of me [thinks], “This is a great book for us as parents to know the Easter story, so that when our kids have questions, we can help answer that.”

And let me add this: this is a great tool. Like you said at the very beginning, this isn't just a book for you. This is something you hope people get and then hand out to their neighbors and others. Some of you know this, and some of you don't: we, at FamilyLife, need you as partners with us. This doesn't happen without you praying for us, and then being a financial partner. A partner means you can give annually, but we really love it when we get partners that give monthly.

Here's the thing: if you decide, “I want to become a FamilyLife Partner” and jump in, and not just be a spectator with this ministry, but be an active participant—“I want to be a partner”—we're going to send you two of Bob's books on this Easter topic. You [will] get two of those: one for yourself, and one to give out. That'll be our gift to you for giving a gift to us.

Bob, let me just say: it's always a joy! Anytime you're in Orlando, you walk in here, and we will talk about something. [Laughter] And even if you're not, you call us. We will have you on your show that we are now hosting. [Laughter]

Bob: Love you guys!—

Ann: —love you too.

Bob: —I’m cheering you on! And God bless the work that FamilyLife Today is doing! May it increase and swell beyond anything that we've ever been associated with. Praying for you guys.

Ann: Thanks.

Dave: Thank you.


Shelby: I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with our very own, beloved Bob Lepine on FamilyLife Today.

As Dave mentioned, as a “thank you” gift for becoming a partner with us here at FamilyLife, we want to send you two copies of Bob's book on Easter: one for you to keep, and then one to give to a friend or family member.

You might be like, “Well, how do I do that?” Well, you can get your copy with any donation by going online to and clicking on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page. Or you could give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word “TODAY.” You could feel free to drop us a donation in the mail if you'd like to. Our mailing address is FamilyLife, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, FL 32832.

You heard Bob mention earlier the Resurrection Eggs, and we've ordered one for our family. This is just a great resource to help your kids understand the story of Easter in a profound and also really fun, tactile way. You get to touch things and read things. It's really quite beautiful. So, if you want to order this resource, you can go online, again, to

Here's an important question: can seasons of darkness actually help us see more clearly than ever? Seems kind of opposite thinking, but tomorrow, singer and author Andrew Peterson is going to describe his path through depression to resurrection. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.


FamilyLife Today is a donor-supported production of FamilyLife®, a Cru® Ministry.

Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.



We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?


Copyright © 2024 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.