We can all smile on Easter—and every day—knowing that because Jesus lives, we too will live.
One of the things that I will miss most when my days of pastoring are over is leading worship on Easter morning: the singing, the choirs, the looks on people’s faces.
Seeing people’s faces will stick with me more than the others. You only get to see that from up front. The first grader smiling in wonder, the contented looks on the faces of families sitting all together, the smiles, and the tears—tears expressing sadness overcome by joy.
On Easter, God’s people gather together to celebrate the most important event that has ever happened anywhere. It is the one event in history whose impact doesn’t fade with time. Easter is just as powerful, just as valuable, and does just as much for you and me as it did for those who were eyewitnesses of the empty tomb! It is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. Without it, faith, church, and ceremony are all worthless.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (vv. 17-20).
The Easter account isn’t a pretend story to make us feel good. It isn’t a fable that teaches us to rise above our problems. Easter is a historical fact that changes everything.
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, became one of us. Although conceived without sin, he was born like one of us. He grew up like one of us. But in one key way, he was not like one of us. He did not sin. Because he did not sin, he did not have to die. But though he did not deserve to die, he did. He paid the penalty for sin even though he did not commit a single sin. What’s more, he suffered the pangs of hell—separation from the love of God—as he hung on the cross. Why? He did all of this for us. He became our substitute. But none of it matters without Easter. None of it matters if Jesus didn’t rise.
But he did rise! And so, his sinless life, his sacrifice in death, and his payment of sin’s debt count for you and count for me. Because he lives, we too will live. I will rise from the grave. You will rise from the grave.
That’s why we sing like we sing on Easter. That’s why we bring out the choirs and the instruments. That’s what puts the look of wonder on the face of a first grader. That’s what puts the contented look on the faces of families gathered together that morning. That’s where the tears of Easter—tears of sorrow overcome by tears of joy—come from as those who have lost loved ones remember that they will see them again.
That reminds me of one more thing that brings a smile to my face on Easter morning. When I look out at the pews of a congregation that I have served for 15 years, I also see the faces of so many now wearing their crowns of life and celebrating in heaven. Not literally, but I remember them, the places where they sat, the blessing that they were to those still here. And I smile, because one day soon I will see them all again!
Easter made it so!
Author: Michael Weigand
Volume 110, Number 04
Issue: April 2023