When Rachel went to school that warm April day, she had no idea the way her faith would be tested.

Rachel was a typical teenager in many ways. She was far from perfect, as she herself would acknowledge, but she was also a recent convert to Christianity and her lively faith in Jesus impacted her young life every day. She aspired to live the kind of life she felt God wanted her to live and she openly shared her newfound faith with friends at school.

She also shared her faith with others at school who weren’t so enamored with her testimony. They remembered those days before Rachel turned to the Lord. They viewed her as a hypocrite and they didn’t want to hear anything about her religious fanaticism.

Rachel wasn’t daunted, though. In fact, she wrote in her journal: “I am not going to apologize for speaking the name of Jesus … If I have to sacrifice everything, I will.”

Two of Rachel’s classmates, Eric and Dylan, were particularly disdainful of Rachel’s open profession of faith in Jesus. In fact, they hated her for it. In homemade videos that were later uncovered, both Eric and Dylan mocked Rachel’s Christian faith in a chilling manner.

On April 20, 1999, these two very troubled young men, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, brought more than their books to Columbine High School. They brought an arsenal of steel firepower with them and they brought an inner rage that prompted them to do the unthinkable.

We’re all sadly familiar with the story of Columbine. We’re all familiar with the shooting rampage of Eric and Dylan. After their high-powered homemade bomb failed to detonate in the cafeteria, the boys took matters into their own hands in a much more personal way, removing their weapons from their gym bags and going on a shooting spree, killing 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounding 24 others.

Rachel faced the ultimate test of her faith that day. Eric Harris pointed a sawed-off shotgun at her head and asked if she truly believed in Jesus. Rachel’s last words were, “You know I do.” Then she went into eternity.

There was another Christian, a classmate of Rachel’s named Cassie Bernall, who was in the school library when Eric and Dylan came barging in. The 17-year-old Cassie, who was also a well-known recent convert to Jesus after coming through a turbulent time in her life, was hiding under a table and praying silently.

Eric Harris approached the table and noticed Cassie. He asked Cassie the same question about Jesus and Cassie bravely said, “Yes.” Then she was shot to death.

Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Christians believe that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth as a man. Christians believe, as the Apostle’s Creed asserts, that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin named Mary, lived a sinless life, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried and on the third day rose again.

Christians believe that Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Christians also believe that Jesus grants eternal life to all who follow after Him. The cross, the symbol of the terrible death that Jesus suffered on behalf of mankind, is the symbol of life for all who come under the long shadow of its protection.

The Bible says that God became man so that He could fulfill a mission that was only possible for Him to do. He not only lived a sinless life but He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice on behalf of all of us who haven’t lived a sinless life. He willingly yielded to the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the scourging and the mockery and the trials and the crown of thorns and the agonizing death of Good Friday, to pay the price of justice for the sins of all people of all time.

When He rose from the dead on the first Easter morning, He rose on behalf of all who would ultimately put their trust and faith in Him. He promises that we who come to the cross in true contrition in this life will also be resurrected to be with Him in heaven when we die.

Easter took on a special significance to Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall more than 20 years ago when they turned to the cross of the Son of God and they embraced Jesus as their Savior. The young ladies celebrated their final Easter in this life on April 4, 1999, not knowing that in just a few weeks they would pass into eternity at the hands of two of their own classmates at Columbine High School.

Rachel and Cassie were prepared for that moment, though, because they had made a commitment to Jesus, as many Christians have done before them and many continue to do. They put their eternal future in the hands of the One whom they believed died in their place. They made the decision to turn away from the ways of the world and turn to the only One who promises to redeem our sinful nature and transform our hearts from within.

When it came to choices, Rachel and Cassie were not only willing to live for Jesus in this imperfect world, they were also willing to die for Him.

I don’t believe those young ladies regret their decision. I believe today they are in the presence of the very One they put their faith in. They are with Him today, tomorrow and always.

That’s really what Easter is all about.