To the world, Easter is just another holiday, but to those who know Jesus Christ, it is the most significant day of the year and the single most pivotal day in history.
After being crucified and buried, Jesus rose from the dead, just as He said He would. The women who arrived at His tomb early that morning discovered it was empty. When Peter got word, he, along with John, raced to the tomb to see if it was true. Jesus was not there. He was/is alive!
Most of us get goose bumps when we sing of this great event each Easter Sunday. But the resurrection is much more than a nice feel-good story. Jesus being raised to life is the very substance of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be just another religion or empty philosophy.
Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote concerning the resurrection’s significance: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). The validity of the Christian message and our assurance of eternal life hinges on this single event.
Jesus said it best, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). Jesus was raised from the dead so that we too could be raised. Salvation is being made alive together with Jesus. Without the resurrection, there is no eternal life.
The sad reality is that far too many Christians live as if salvation is nothing more than forgiveness of sins. “Christ died to forgive my sins”, they say. And that’s it. To know that our sins have been forgiven once and for all certainly is incredible news. But the heart and soul of the Gospel message is life.
Concerning salvation, this is what Paul wrote to the Colossian church:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13, 14)
As Paul so clearly stated, we were dead in our sins. We needed life. Until we know that we have been made alive, that the resurrected Christ lives in us, our Christian experience will be a struggle, one filled with frustration and failure. That certainly described me. As far as Christianity was concerned, I couldn’t get my act together. I kept trying to make the old me godly. The more I tried the harder I fell. I finally gave up. It was then this passage of Scripture did its work in my heart.
What it taught me boggled my mind. And it still does. God made me alive together with Christ. The same power it took to raise Jesus from the dead, God directed toward me. I was raised spiritually to walk in the newness of life.
By proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the apostles turned the world upside down. Today, this same message continues to change the hearts and lives of those who respond to Him by faith.
Because of the empty tomb, we can say with Peter, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
For more information on this subject, a suggested resource is This is Eternal Life (CDELD).
The disciples were waiting. That is what Jesus told them to do. Something significant was going to happen. Jesus described it this way: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." What it all meant, they were not sure, but it had to do with the Holy Spirit and power.Love is Patient
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 1 John 4:7, 8. Here, as in so much of his writing, John gives insights about his favorite subject – love. "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."First Life, Then Change
Not long ago, a phrase popped into my mind that really grabbed me – “first life, then change.” This is the process God works in us first to make us alive in Christ, and then to transform us into the image of His Son.