Written by Pastor Eddie Arnold Pastor at Pathway Christian Church of Harlan
Easter is almost here! For the Christian, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. We contemplate the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we celebrate the fact that He is not dead, but alive and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty! But what if there was no resurrection? What if Jesus who died for our sins and was buried in accordance with the Scriptures still remained in the grave to this day? Would we have anything to celebrate? Yes, it is true that we could attend the Good Friday service to remember his life and death; how He took the full wrath and anger of God by dying in our place. But ultimately, if there was no resurrection and His body was still in that tomb, would we have reason to hope?
The Apostle Paul when writing to the Corinthian church put it this way. If there is no resurrection, your faith is futile – it accomplishes nothing, and thus man’s sin problem still needs a solution. There is no life after death, the Lords promise of a new heaven and a new earth are empty, and all who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished! Paul says, if this event did not happen, we who believe in Jesus should be pitied! (1 Cor. 15:19)
Now, it is true that there have been many who have tried to deny this well documented historical event. But the fact is, the evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming. First, we know that Jesus died on that cross, as verified by the Roman executioners who were in charge of his death (John 19:33-34). Second, He was buried in a tomb and which was personally observed by women (Luke 23:55). Third, the tomb was found empty on Sunday morning by Mary Magdalene and the rest of the women, and then by Peter and John (John 20:3-8). Finally, Jesus appeared to the rest of the twelve and then to over 500 believers at once (1 Cor. 15:3-8). The only reasonable explanation for these events is that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead.
When that giant stone rolled away from the tomb on Easter morning, it announced the greatest victory in the history of the world. First and foremost, the resurrection was God’s stamp of approval telling the world that His demands for perfect justice were fully satisfied through Christ’s cross. His sacrifice has been fully accepted, death has been crushed and Satan has forever been defeated! Death no longer has a hold on us, and we can shout out with the words of Paul: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting (1 Cor. 15:55)”?
But just as importantly, by His resurrection, He has forever ensured that all who have placed their faith in Him will not stay in the grave but be resurrected to the newness of life. Paul told us in his letter to the Corinthians; “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1).” Because Jesus lives, we can have confidence that to be absent from our physical body is to be present with the Lord.
You see, the resurrection is the truth in which everything hinges. It is an exclamation point of God’s joy and celebration of all that Christ did for us in his dying. Christ is alive today for this reason: to deliver to us personally and powerfully everything he died to obtain. Including the joy of knowing that death has no hold on those who belong to Him. Friends, Easter is coming and if you belong to Jesus, it is a time to celebrate! He has risen, He has risen indeed! If you don’t have a church family, we would love for you to come join us this Easter!