Quick question – what hymns or songs did you sing this Easter morning?
Though it is the most momentous Sunday in Christianity and the most incredible event on planet earth, our fickle memories can even turn Easter into a distant memory. The tears about Jesus’ death – Good Friday – have long been wiped and so has been the Sunday sermon on Jesus’ resurrection. The final busy week of March is upon most of us, employee appraisals hang like Goliath’s sword above our heads and it’s India vs. West Indies at World Cup T 20 tonight. Thank you, but move on Easter!
As the intensity of that empty tomb in Israel dwindles down to “harmless” levels, here’s an encouragement for all Christians out there.
Easter is more than an annual festival. It’s a quiet revolution that should rightly turn your world upside down, one day at a time.
For starters, consider what Billy Graham once said –
“There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.”
The undeniable reality of Jesus coming alive three days after dying a bloody, brutal death on the cross is so solid a supernatural event, that I still wonder how as a knowledgeable Hindu, I was not aware of this truth for twenty-one years.
Today we will believe it if we are told a boy was born in South-east Asia with half his body being that of a crocodile. We will believe any number of “scientific” theories about aliens building pyramids on earth and of UFO sightings. But speak of Jesus defeating death, being alive today and being the one who has all power and authority (Matt 28:17-18)?
Scoff. Mock. Meh.
But take heart, Christ-follower. While we can expect a lot of people to ridicule this beautiful truth, we know we are people who still need rescue from personal sin, from its power and its grip on our broken world. We are, daily, in need of active, helpless faith in Christ’s resurrection.
The Meaning of Christ’s Death and Resurrection
One of the most impactful implications about Jesus’ death & resurrection was penned down by a man who had nothing to gain by believing in it. In fact, Saul of Tarsus had a great religious career going on for him and was hunting down Christians left, right and centre, when the risen Lord Jesus appeared to Him and literally stunned Him from blind religion into liberating truth.
Later known as Apostle Paul, He wrote this –
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, (Rom 6:5)
What does this mean? Those who have a relationship with God based on forgiveness by faith in Christ’s death for their sins, they are united with their head, Jesus, in his death and resurrection. So what? Paul says in the Bible –
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. – Romans 6:9 -12
Practical Value of the Resurrection for Jesus-Followers
What does all this mean? It’s only because of Jesus’ death and our God-given faith in that truth that we can have the right motives to defeat sin and the power to kill personal sin. No longer do we have to live like we enjoy our old dirty deeds and thoughts, but now because Jesus is alive and we are alive to God, we can say no to sin and yes to God’s purposes.
It’s only because of Jesus’ death and our God-given faith in that truth that we can have the right motives to defeat sin and the power to kill personal sin. No longer do we have to live like we enjoy our old dirty deeds and thoughts, but now Jesus is alive to God and with Him, we are alive to God! Now we can say no to sin and yes to God’s purposes.
The joyful freedom to not be afraid for your children’s’ future.
The boldness to honour God by not paying bribes.
The ability to love employees who scheme against you.
The willingness to wash the bodies of destitute people with a thankful heart.
The ability to rejoice in time alone in Jesus’ presence, discovering the delights of the living God.
The capacity to fight against and not participate in a culture of fantasising about hot bodies of people none of whom are your spouse.
The humility to apologise and repent even when you have not been caught doing the wrong deed.
All this and more is possible because Christ lives a new life, and His righteousness or His holy strength now is the fuel in our new eternal life engine. As Paul reminds us in the Bible, yet again –
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. – Rom 5:17
Yes, reigning in life is possible because Jesus lives in us and when we sin foolishly He is so mercifully, our advocate before God, the impartial Father in heaven. I pray and hope this seemingly strange but actually beautiful truth will propel me only to love Jesus and obey Him in all ways possible today! How deeply has God our Father loved us that He would through His Son Jesus Christ, give us the Holy Spirit to live like how He would have lived!
What about you?
Has the festival of Easter ever been more than a childhood festival for you, reader?
If you have never heard these truths or if you have never been affected by Jesus’ resurrection to a point where you received faith and power to throw off your old life and surrender to Jesus, do you really think you honestly believe in Jesus or belong to Him?
Or is this an event that only has nostalgic value for you?
Not just on one weekend in March but every hour and day from now, let us live by the indwelling life of Jesus, who is the sure defeat of physical death, sin and spiritual separation from God.
Here are some quotes to challenge your mind and heart on Jesus’ resurrection.
“The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
Clarence W. Hall
“Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”
”The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.”
“The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits,’ the pioneer of life,’ He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.”
“After death something new begins, over which all powers of the world of death have no more might.”
“The cross of Christ only triumphs in the breast of believers over the devil and the flesh, sin and sinners, when their eyes are directed to the power of His Resurrection.”