What are your family’s Easter traditions? Hiding eggs for the little ones, eating lots of chocolate bunnies and jelly bean eggs, or getting dressed up for Easter pictures amidst the beautiful spring flowers? I hope that one of your traditions is going to church on Easter Sunday morning to worship and celebrate the One who made this day famous—Jesus Christ.
Easter arrives on April 21st this year. I like to call this holiday Resurrection Sunday because it is the time we especially remember Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead three days after His crucifixion. But every Sunday should be called Resurrection Sunday (and I hope you go to church every Sunday): churches meet on the first day of the week because Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week. The resurrection is foundational to the Christian faith.
To understand the resurrection, we need to understand the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death was not just the ordinary outcome of human mortality. Instead this was Jesus’ destiny—why He was born. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus died for our sins. You nay be familiar with John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Another Bible passage tells us “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). This is the Gospel—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Because we are sinners, we all deserve death—both physical and spiritual. Now everyone, like it or not, must face death physically, but because Jesus died for us, in our place, we do not have to face the spiritual death of hell and separation from God eternally. Instead, God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we can have eternal life by putting our faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of our sins. I hope you have received this gift from God.
The resurrection is not just a spiritual presence floating around in heaven, such as when Solomon wrote concerning death, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). Instead, resurrection means that the believer in Jesus Christ will one day have a new body. Just as Jesus’ tomb was empty on Easter Sunday morning, so our tombs will be empty when we too are resurrected with new and perfect bodies like Jesus. I think that is awesome! But there is more. The Bible tells us that believers can live new lives right now, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. With this power, we can press on amidst our difficulties and imperfections to live for Christ today. This is living in the power of His resurrection today.
So yes, the resurrection is foundational to the Christian faith. Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Salvation depends on belief in the resurrection. Now granted, this presumes belief that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, but the Gospel is not complete without the resurrection. I hope that you believe in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. And I pray that this Easter Sunday morning you will attend church to worship your Resurrected Savior, who gave you life with His life!