Why Is Easter So Important?
So each year, we, as Christians, celebrate a day that holds utmost importance to us. It is called Easter or what we more commonly call Resurrection Sunday. And I believe this day in history is the most important event in all history.
For some reason, we don’t talk about this event much, but maybe one time each year. And I think we should talk about it much more. And here is why.
Everyone believes at least three things about Jesus Christ. And by everyone, I mean everyone. Everyone believes that:
- Jesus lived.
- Jesus died.
- The tomb of Jesus was empty.
There is pretty much no person who would disagree with these three points. Even staunch Jews, Muslims, and Atheists agree with these points. They agree Jesus lived, and died, and the tomb of Jesus was empty simply because these three points are facts.
But the one contested issue is always how that tomb ended up empty. And Christians, of course, believe it is because Jesus Christ defeated death by raising himself from the dead. And his resurrection was so important that every message preached to the early church centered on the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as proof of their faith. Every single message included it.
For some reason, today, we have left the resurrection out of a lot of gospel messages. We talk a lot about the life and the death of Jesus but little about the resurrection. But remember, even atheists and opponents would agree with these tenets of our faith. The dividing issue is that empty tomb and how it got empty.
Now how that tomb got empty is of much debate. And there are a number of theories about how that happened, which I don’t have time to address today. But I will share this one predominant theory that opposes the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the theory that some Christians, or a group of Christians, stole the body. They devised a plan, snuck in, and stole his body. And while this may sound reasonable, it’s pretty hard to believe. Here is why. Most of Jesus’s followers were scared to death of the religious and political powers of the day. In fact, Jesus’s most ardent supporter, Peter, denied a relationship with Jesus in the final moments of his life and was hiding out in those days that followed his death. In addition, when they arrive to pay their respects at the tomb, they were surprised the body was missing. Add to this that the Roman government had the tomb guarded, sealed, and a massive stone rolled in front of it. And, even if by some great act they were able to steal the body, how were they able to keep it hidden for the last 2000 years? And why would dozens of followers share the message of the resurrection and even die for this message if they knew they had a body in their possession? No one would do that. I know I wouldn’t be willing to die for something I knew to be a lie, nor would I talk about a resurrection publicly if I had a body in my possession.
So let’s back up a second.
Let’s consider another outcome. Let’s set aside all the theories against the resurrection and just entertain what would be compelling evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus did actually raise in bodily form, what would be the most compelling evidence for a risen Lord?
Well, that’s pretty simple. The most compelling evidence would be an eyewitness account. Even today, eyewitness accounts in a court of law are some of the most compelling evidence. And guess what? We have that. In fact, we know that at least around 500 people, or more, were eyewitnesses in Jesus’s day to his bodily resurrection. This is pretty profound and compelling evidence. Yet some people choose to ignore it—mainly because these eyewitness accounts are substantiated in our own covenant. Therefore, they choose to discount it, because they discount the Bible, and they dismiss this as disinformation.
So let’s just say for sake of argument that these 500-plus people were simply crazy nut job Christians who fabricated stories. If that were the case, then what would make for the ultimate eyewitness evidence? Just think about that for a moment. What would be the best-case scenarios for eyewitness evidence? Would not the best eyewitness evidence of the resurrection be from someone who opposed Christ? Someone who was a Roman citizen. Someone who despised Christians. Someone who imprisoned them. Someone who vehemently opposed Jesus Christ witnessed his trial, flogging, and death—of course. That would make for profound evidence.
And guess what we have that witness. His name was Saul.
One day, soon after Jesus’s death, Saul was traveling down a road to Damascus on his way to persecute Christians, nonetheless, and had a confrontation with the risen Lord. Jesus Christ appeared to him. During this appearance, Saul was blinded. In the story, we discover that a Christian named Ananias was told to heal him, but Ananias was terrified. Why? Because Saul was one of the most violent opponents of the Christian faith. But Saul, who became known as Paul, had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and became one the most ardent messengers of the Christian faith. In fact, many Christians in his day had a hard time believing this for years because Paul was such a hater. But after encountering the risen Lord, Paul ended up becoming the most influential leader in the Christian movement and wrote about two-thirds of the New Testament, basing his entire message on this one thing—the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now I would say that’s some pretty compelling evidence, if not the most compelling evidence for me.
So now given this very compelling evidence, why is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ so important? And this is a critical question to ask.
It’s important for a number of reasons. First, it’s evidence of God’s unfathomable power over life and death. Second, it’s evidence that God’s story is true, including his prophecies and predictions. Third, it’s evidence that Jesus was God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Fourth, it’s evidence of Jesus’s power over physical and spiritual death including our sin that separated us from a relationship with God. And fifth, it’s the hope we are looking for today.
But here is the problem—physical death is imminent. One out of one still dies. Even Jesus died. We need to address the real issue when it comes to death—the reality of death itself. The innate desire we have to live forever.
So what’s the real issue and problem?
The Bible says the real issue and problem is the disease of sin that stems from our disobedience to God. Listen to what Paul says in Romans.
Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death.
Romans 3:23 — For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Our real issue is not death in this life—that’s imminent. We are all going to die. Our real issue is the sin that leads to death itself. Now sin, is a little bit of a cryptic word, but its meaning is to miss the mark in obedience to God. And it’s this issue that we really need to contend with. The government, health professionals, and the president do not have the solution to this problem—only God does. And his solution was Jesus Christ. The one who lived, died, and proved his power over physical death and also our sin by raising in bodily form for you and me. His resurrection is the ultimate proof that he is the provider for victory over sin and death. And Jesus said this:
John 11:25 — I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.
The solution for our impending death is so simple it’s a little unbelievable. It’s believing that Jesus is the life that gives us life. You see, Jesus is the only real healer and hope-giver. Jesus is the only answer to the problem of death and our desire for life. It is only in him we have any kind of hope over death and sin. If you want life, you have to go to the one who has power over life and death, and that is Jesus Christ.
So today if you are weighed down by sin and death, and you are looking for hope, there is only one who gives it. It’s the Creator of all things. Listen again to Paul, who saw the risen Lord with his own eyes.
Romans 8:11 — If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Today if you are looking for hope beyond death and your sin. Hope over the hopelessness of this life. Then only Jesus provides it. It begins with belief and results in the Spirit of God dwelling in you.
If today is a day you want to make this decision, you can either let me know right here, and I will send you something to help you get started in your relationship with Christ.
And remember—He is risen, he is risen indeed.