WHY CELEBRATE EASTER
Around the world billions of people celebrate
Easter. In any given year it is the most celebrated event of the
year. In fact, Easter is the most celebrated event in the history of
mankind. We raise the question, "Why is Easter so important?" To do
so is to ask in reality "Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so
important?" because that is what Easter is all about.
This must have been what the apostle Paul was
thinking about when he wrote,
"Now if Christ is
preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among
you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if
there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen, and
if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is
also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God,
because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He
did not raise up---if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the
dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is
not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the
most pitiable." 1st Corinthians 15:12-19.
Paul is saying that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead then
all preaching is worthless; all faith in God is worthless; gospel
preachers are liars and all mankind is in the hopeless grip of sin.
It follows that all the money spent on building church buildings and
sending missionaries to other nations has been wasted and all those
millions of martyrs who have been put to death because they were
Christian have died in vain.
However, Paul quickly adds, "But now Christ
is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who
asleep." 1st Corinthians 15:20. Here, Paul is saying the resurrection of
Christ has been so completely confirmed by the facts that it is
beyond question. He had previously given a summation of those
witnesses who had given a lifetime of public record that they had
personally seen and heard Jesus after He had risen from the dead:
- "Cephas" – who we know as Peter
- "the twelve" – original apostles
- "more than five hundred brethren at one time" – His disciples
- "James" – who many Bible scholars believe was a previous
unbelieving step brother of Jesus (See John 7:3-5)
- Last of all, "Paul" – on the road to Damascus.
Paul is saying that the resurrection of Jesus
Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity and the evidence for it is
irrefutable. A Gallup survey revealed that 89% of Americans accept
the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical fact. When we
consider all the savage attacks against Christ from many sources
this testifies how powerful the evidence is that Christ rose from
the dead. Carefully read 1st Corinthians 15 again and you
will find that Paul’s argument is that the indisputable evidence of
the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that all mankind shall rise
So, let’s be more specific. Since Jesus Christ
rose from the dead, why is that important to me?
Christ’s Resurrection Validates What He Taught Is
Jesus taught that His works were the most
important validation of what He taught.
My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not
believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that
the Father is in Me, and I in Him." John
10:37, 38 (see also John 5:36).
"If I do not the works of
Jesus taught that He would die, be buried, and
Temple He announced, Destroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up." John 2:19 The Jewish leaders thought He meant
the temple building, but John explains, "…He was speaking of the
temple of His body. Therefore when He had risen from the dead, His
disciples remembered…" John 3:21, 22. On a later visit Jesus
stated, "…no sign will be given to it (this generation)
except the sign of the prophet Jonah; for as Jonah was three day
s and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son
of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 10:39, 40. It was only after Peter expressed his
belief that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God" that
Jesus began to speak plainly. "From that time Jesus began
to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many
things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed,
and be raised up on the third day." Matthew 16:16, and 21. Jesus
could not have said it more plainly in human language. He would
repeat this statement often. (Matthew 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18, 19). When
He rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, they never
again doubted that what He taught them was true. Neither should we.
During His first public ministry in the Jerusalem
Jesus taught that He came into the world to save
To Nicodemus, the renowned teacher of Mosaic law,
Jesus revealed, "For God did not send His Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
John 3:17. When Jesus was criticized for going home with Zaccheus, a
collector of taxes for Rome, He replied, "Today salvation has
come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the
Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:9, 10. Those who think of Jesus only as a great teacher,
example or martyr are short of the mark. He was all those things but
by His own words He taught that His pre-eminent purpose for coming
into the world was to save the lost. This should be wonderful news
to anyone who realizes they have sinned in the eyes of God. No
matter how great their sins they are the very ones Jesus came into
the world to save.
Jesus taught that He would redeem the lost from
the curse of the law by receiving the punishment for their sins upon
To Nicodemus Jesus also said, " And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever
believes may in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:14, 15. That
serpent Moses lifted up was a symbol of judgment. Jesus was saying
that He must be lifted up and receive the judgment for the sins of
mankind to make it possible for lost sinners to receive eternal
life. In the next verse (John 3:16) Jesus said His sacrifice for our
sins on the cross would demonstrate how great God's love is for the
worst of sinners.
Jesus taught that He came to make it possible for
the saved to have abundant life.
Jesus said, "The thief does
not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I have
come that they may have
life, and that they may have it more abundantly," John 10:10.
Most people are not living; they are just
existing. They get up in the morning; go to work, come home; watch
TV; go to bed; get up in the morning; go to work…. To this world of
people Jesus says, "I came that you might have life and have it
A lot of people think Jesus said, "I came that
you might have religion and that it might make you miserable." They
feel that if they really give their life to God He will make them
into a religious kook. Jesus said that He came so that we could have
abundant life…life to the fullest, life that is satisfying and
HIS Resurrection Demonstrates The Power By Which His Purposes Are Accomplished
Jesus…declared with power to be the Son of God by the
resurrection from the dead." Romans 1:1, 4.
We live in a day when there is a great emphasis
on power. Many best selling books deal with power, --how to get
it, keep it, use it. We learn to dress for power; eat a power
lunch, power walk, and even take a power nap. Out in California
they found it a catastrophe when there's not enough electric
We need to stop and consider what incredibly
great power was involved in raising Jesus from the dead. His body
was brutalized. His blood was gone. He had not taken a breath of
air in three days. Then suddenly, He was alive again. He could
appear or disappear at will, --even passing through walls. He
could make Himself recognizable or unrecognizable. He could be
seen, touched, heard, and even eat food, --yet He could ascend
from off the earth all the way back to His Father's throne in the
highest heaven. Just before He left this earth He said, "All
power (or authority) has been given to Me in heaven and
earth." Matthew 28:19.
How great is the power Jesus possesses.
Consider this prayer of Paul for the Christians of Ephesus, "I I
pray that…you may know…what is the exceeding greatness of His
power toward us who believe....which He worked in Christ when He
raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the
heavenly places." Ephesians 1:18-20.
Have you ever felt the need of power…to conquer
a bad habit…to straighten out a relationship gone sour…to finish
an enormous task… to keep your marriage happy and romantic…to
successfully raise your children…to be a positive and productive
Christian? Take courage that the incredible power that raised
Jesus from the dead is available to you. The Apostle Paul was
talking about this power in his life when he said, "I can do
all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.
The sense of the verse is that Paul was able to endure all
difficulties; overcome all obstacles and accomplish all tasks by
the power of Christ. That power is available to every believer to
experience abundant life in Christ. It is continuously claimed by
Substantiates That His Promises May Still Be Claimed Today.
Jesus made some truly amazing promises. If you
ask anything in My name, I will do it," John 14:14. I have
struggled with this verse and have come to the conclusion that 1) It
does not mean that Jesus will give me anything I ask just because I
tack on to the end of my prayer "I ask this in Jesus' name", and 2)
It does mean that if what I am asking is what He would ask if He
were in my shoes at this point in time He will do it. So how do I
know what he would ask? I know that if I ask something He's already
promised to answer, then He will do it.
If I'm lost I know He will answer my prayer
asking Him to save me. He promised "…the one who comes to Me
I will by no means cast out." John 6:37
If I am struggling with temptation I know He will
hear my prayer for help. "For we do not have a high priest who
cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted
as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may
and may find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15, 16.
If I have physical, financial, or material needs
I have the promise that "And my God shall supply all your need according
to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
If I need guidance I have His promise that the
Spirit of truth will guide me into all truth. John 16:13
If I need power to bear witness for Christ I have
His promise that I shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come
upon me. Acts 1:8
In all there are 7000 promises in the Bible and I
am promised "For all the promises of God in Him
are Yes…" 2nd Corinthians 1:20
And so I summarize: Christ's resurrection
validates that what He taught is true; demonstrates the power by
which He accomplishes His purposes and substantiates that His
promises may still be claimed today.
Copyright © 2005 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.