Easter is the celebration of the resurrection after the death (Good Friday) and burial of Jesus, the Christ.
I don’t write to the unconverted. I don’t believe anyone can be convinced.
But if you need encouragement today, please continue.
Good Friday (some people think He died on Thursday, but I’ll leave this to the apologetics crew) is when Jesus died in our place.
Sin has a cost. We like to focus on the love of God but seldom consider the cost of sin. Furthermore, when we do focus on the love of God we forget that it was His love that motivated Him to die.
The Bible teaches us that all of us have sinned.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Whether it sounds appealing to our modern view, there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. In the context of the Bible, and His laws (rules) that He set up (it’s His world, after all), this cannot be bypassed or hacked.
“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22
If you want to read the legal case set against us, try reading the Book of Romans. Paul does a good job laying out the case for all things “New Testament.” Suffice it, for the sake of this blog post, to say, that we are sinners, needing redemption, and only the blood of Christ (fully man yet fully God) would be acceptable.
There is no nation or ethnic group that crucified Jesus. We did. Our sin did. But truly, agape love (sacrificial love) is the real culprit. God doesn’t give us lip-service. He backs up His love with action.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
Why? Why would He do that? Why would He knowingly come here just to die?
It was for His joy!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
God’s love is beyond human understanding. This is why Paul prays this way.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19
Jesus spoke of his burial during his three-year ministry. He referred to his body as a temple that would be torn down and resurrected in three days. He also referred to Jonah who had spent three days in the belly of a great fish.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'” John 2:19
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40
I can only imagine that God was proving that He means what He says and He says what He means. That’s when a lay Bible scholar tells you what’s what. 🙂
Personally, I love that the women found Him first and that his grave clothes were folded neatly. This tells me that women are important and that His body wasn’t just stolen. Also, in a strange way, it shows that Jesus was considerate. He didn’t just leave his dirty laundry on the floor (is that too irreverent?)
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.'” John 20:1-2
Also, it’s pretty cool that He first appeared to a woman. Though, at first she was totally confused.
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him,“Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:11-17
Easter is More Important Than Christmas
I say this a lot and people look at me like I’m crazy.
Think about it. If Jesus didn’t die (to atone) and rise again, there would be no Christianity. His birth was for His death.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.'” John 11:25
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” Romans 6:5
“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” 1 Corinthians 15:16-17
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Really, you should read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 15.
Without the Resurrection, there is no hope. Hope is Christ in us!
We think of hope as a dream for the future. With Christ, there is no dream, there is a promise.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3
“ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 17:21
This is why Easter is so important. It is the celebration of the foundation of Christianity.
I love this song by Bill & Gloria Gaither:
“Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He Lives, all fear is gone. Because I know, He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives!”
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.