Easter is a big deal. Children develop special memories of Easter baskets and colored eggs and take those memories right into adulthood. People of faith gather for worship and fellowship in numbers that surpass any other Sunday. Even among people who may not observe Easter as a holy day, it remains a holiday, a harbinger of spring and renewal and fresh starts. Easter is a big deal.
But it’s got to be a bigger deal than that, right? There must be more to Easter than warm fuzzies about family and church gatherings and springtime. Right?
Easter: Your miracle
Right. Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and it is everything for your life with God. Perhaps you have thrilled to the miracles Jesus performed in days of old, as recorded in the pages of the Bible, but have despaired of him doing miracles in your life. Have you felt, perhaps, like the 11th leper or the 5,001st person at the feeding of the five thousand? While we rejoice to see Jesus doing something only God can do in somebody’s life, we wonder if he’ll ever do something like that in our lives.
Easter means he did. Easter is your miracle. “He . . . was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). The greatest miracle Jesus ever performed was rising from the dead. When he did, he was giving you another miracle: justification. For sinners like us to hear “Not guilty!” from the holy God, that’s justification. When Christ burst forth from his grave, he wrapped you in that miracle of forgiveness. Easter means the Man of the cross meant what he said when he uttered, “It is finished.” He finished the work only God can do. He removed your sins and made you right with the Almighty. That’s a miracle for you, and Easter is your proof.
Easter: Your faith
Easter means you’re not putting your trust in a dead hero. You’re not pinning your most important hopes to a great person who did great things and made great claims but then died never to be heard from again. The air in the lungs of your trust in God is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). What good would it do to put your trust in someone who promised he would die and rise again but then only kept half his promise?
Easter means your dear Jesus is telling you the truth when he makes a promise. Not halfway either. All the way. You can count on him keeping his word to you.
Easter means death is not the end but the beginning for God’s child, the beginning of eternal life.
Like this word: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). That’s a word you need to hear and know to be true when it seems like friends and family are more distant in difficult times.
When Jesus says, “All things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28), that is not just pie in the sky. That’s the truth, as rock solid as his resurrection. In fact, it’s rock solid because of his resurrection. Oh, how we need that word from our living Savior when the good seems a little more elusive in our lives.
And if you’ve ever doubted your place with God, listen to the Risen One’s promise: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me” (John 14:3). He means it. He won’t lie to you. As surely as he lives, his word to you is true.
Easter: Your life
Easter means you have a new life to live. In our stressed and frustrated moments we often speak of the new life we want. A new life in which we have less pain and more money, a new life whose description always begins with “I wish . . . .” When Christ’s apostle Paul was inspired to write of Easter, he essentially said to stop wishing for a new life and start living it: “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). When the Father united you to his Son by the power of the Spirit at your baptism, he joined you to everything Jesus accomplished by dying on the cross and rising from the grave. You have the power and blessing of the Lamb who once died but now lives forever (Revelation 1:18) to live a new life.
It’s a new life powered by the Easter miracle. Paul characterizes it in Romans 6 with phrases like “dead to sin;” “no longer . . . slaves to sin;” and being “set free from sin.” At your baptism, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ coursing through God’s promise to you, sin got knocked off the throne of your heart. It’s not in control anymore. Easter gives you a new self and a new life where there can be a real desire to do things God’s way—to say no to sin and to say yes to living life every day in a spirit of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for you. Christ lives, and that means you have a new life.
Easter: Your forever
Easter means you will live . . . forever. Resurrection from the dead is not something Jesus hoards for himself, nor does he share it with a select few like the widow’s son in Nain, Jairus’ daughter in Capernaum, or Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus in Bethany. Resurrection from the dead is for you, wherever and whenever you live. It’s your future. Easter says so. Days before his resurrection, Jesus connected his rising from the dead to yours: “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). When you fall asleep in death, that’s not the end.
Part of the absolute exhilaration of proclaiming “He is risen!” is the truth that follows. We too shall rise! If you confess, “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting,” and mean it, please know that Easter is the “Amen!” that says it’s true. The Risen One says to you, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Those are not empty words! It’s a powerful promise of your forever future from the One who journeyed into death for you and came back nevermore to die. Easter means death is not the end but the beginning for God’s child, the beginning of eternal life. Easter means the Last Day for this world is the first day of the new heavens and new earth, where we, body and soul, will enjoy forever life under the grace of the One who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
He is risen! It really is a big deal. Easter means God has worked a miracle in your life. There’s forgiveness for you. There’s truth for you. There’s new life for you. There’s a forever for you. Because God loves you. Easter proves it!
Author: Daniel P. Leyrer
Volume 109, Number 04
Issue: April 2022