Today we celebrate EASTER – The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – His return from death after the Crucifixion. It is the most important Christian festival.
Easter is a festival of Enlightenment. It is the day that Jesus rose from death. It was on a Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene and other women had gone to look at the tomb where Jesus was buried. But to their horror and bewilderment they met an empty tomb. Beside the tomb stood two angels who said to them; “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, He has risen!” (Luke: 24:5)
This was the great turning point that transformed the story of Jesus which seemed to have ended with His tragic death on the Cross on Friday evening.
Most, if not all of the Christian faith, hang on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The apostle Paul argued that if the resurrection had not happened then our preaching would be in vain, we would be misrepresenting God, our faith would be futile, we would have no resurrection ourselves, and we would still be dead in our sins. “For as by a man came death,” speaking of Adam, “so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21). In Adam we all die. But in Christ (namely, His resurrection) we shall all live eternally.
The resurrection of Christ seals the deal. His testimonies, His life, His judgments, His forgiving, His promising, His decrees all depend on His ability to follow through with His resurrection work. When Jesus rose from the dead – He settled it. His resurrection made the most powerful statement this earth has ever heard – Jesus is God and is victor over sin and death.
Biblical evidence for the resurrection
There is plenty of biblical evidence for the resurrection. Matthew recorded the account describing that Mary Magdalene and some others witnessed the tomb to be empty where Jesus’ dead body once laid. An angel appeared to them saying that Jesus was not there; rather “he has risen, as he said” (Matt. 28:6).
Luke also wrote of this account and mentions later that Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13:36). He also appeared to hundreds more and the disciples collectively. The letters of the New Testament depend on this truth. In fact, the final book of the Bible, John’s Revelations, says that Jesus will soon return. If He were still dead, all of these accounts would be wasted. The resurrection proves much.
Unlike the other few resurrections in the Bible, like Lazarus, Jesus’ was unique. The other ones could be defined as a reconstitution of the body. That is to say that the body was made alive again – yet it was still the same body that would die again. Jesus, on the other hand, was raised with an incorruptible body. It was one that would never die or suffer again.
Heavenly Father and God of mercy,
I believe that Jesus is alive and has
become the Lord of life.
From the waters of Baptism you have
raised me with him and renewed your
gift of life within me.
Increase in my mind and heart
the risen life I share with Christ
and help me to grow in your
wisdom and grace.
Lord Jesus, you appeared to your
apostles after the resurrection and filled
their hearts with joy when you said to them
“Peace be with you”.
May the peace of your presence
abide with me and make each day you
give me the most beautiful day of my life.
Lord Jesus, you triumphed over death and
destroyed the power of death in me,
may I live only for you.
Risen Lord, you brought confusion
on the guards at your tomb but joy
to your disciples, grant me the fullness
of joy as I serve you in spirit and truth.
You promised to be with your disciples,
Lord, to the end of the world, stay with
me today and remain with me always.
King of glory, center of my life,
grant that when you come again, I may
be one with you in glory.
Lord, remember me as in my own way I
minister to your people, may my life
be holy and an example to your people.
Lord Jesus, purify my heart with your truth
and guide me in the way of holiness,
so that I may always do what is
pleasing in your sight.