The story in Genesis tells us that God created a perfect world as well as perfect people with whom he would meet and chat but people turned away from God and that intimate relationship. This resulted in their being sent away from the perfect world God had given them as well as being cut off from God and that special relationship with him.
"At the same time God was preparing his plan of reconciliation, as he still loved the people he had created" ( Bible Stories For Big Kids page 1) and this is when Easter was born.
There were two very different scenarios that first Easter - God's plan and that of those who wanted to be rid of Jesus - parallel plans I call it.
I like to use the illustration of one of my clean but well worn blouses shown against the original material. The blouse looks perfectly good but does the original material show up how much the blouse has faded. Without the original material, the blouse is fine but put against the original material the blouse appears to be very shabby. When Jesus was teaching, he showed people how much God loved them, not like the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who were so insistent on people keeping the law that love didn't come into their way of life. Instead of the religious leaders following Jesus, all they wanted to do was to get rid of him - he showed them up just as the new material showed up the shabbiness of my blouse.
As their evil ways were playing out, God was allowing this to happen, for it was God's plan for Jesus to be punished for our sins instead of us, and to bring us back into that intimate relationship with him. At all times during those sordid 24 hours of bitter hatred and torment towards Jesus, God was in charge. The more Jesus did not respond to their bullying, the more angry the perpetrators became, resulting in Jesus being put to death on a cross - horrifying but all part of God's plan. Jesus was dead. I would love to know how those responsible felt that night - were they celebrating or obeying the law by observing the Passover and ignoring what they had done. Certainly Judas realised his mistake and took his own life, and Peter felt bad about denying Jesus 3 times.
But God's plan wasn't yet finished. On the Sunday morning Jesus was alive, alive to bring us back to God. How well this 'golden oldie' of a chorus describes what the first Easter means to me.
'He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart.
You ask me how I know he lives? -
He lives within my heart.'