A member of Castlefields Church explains the vital importance of Easter.
I vividly remember a colleague’s question shortly after I started at work. He asked me, “What do we celebrate at Easter? What’s it actually about?” For anyone else wondering, I’ll try and explain.
At Easter, Christians celebrate the heart of their faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? The Bible puts it like this: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…” (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Why is Christianity pointless without the resurrection?
First, the problem. The Bible says this about humankind, “No one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). None of us is good enough for God, whose standard is perfection. The future doesn’t look good because “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). God judges by his standards, not ours.
Second, the solution. Out of love, God came to the rescue. Enter Jesus of Nazareth. For 30 years he lives in obscurity. Then for 3 years he goes about preaching. He points to himself as the one who fulfils the promises in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible) about a “Messiah” who would suffer as a substitute for his people. By his many miracles, Jesus shows himself to be more than a mere man. Here is God in human flesh.
Jealous authorities plot to kill him. He’s arrested, falsely accused, and condemned to death. Soldiers mock him. A crown of thorns is pushed onto his head.
To the watching world this looks like defeat. But, as Jesus was led to a small hill outside Jerusalem and nailed to a wooden cross, the mockers were mistaken. They shouted, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” and “He saved others; he cannot save himself” (Matthew 27:40, 42).
What they didn’t realise was that Jesus was willingly being the substitute. The perfect man was suffering God’s punishment for human sin. Before he died, he declared for all to hear, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
That’s Good Friday. Now for Easter Sunday!
Jesus had said that he would be killed, and on the third day he would rise again.
That’s what happened on that first Easter Sunday: resurrection! Jesus was raised physically from the dead. Death couldn’t hold him prisoner. The tomb was empty for all to see.
Jesus showed himself alive to many witnesses. Instantly, their mood changed from grief to joy, from fear to faith. The price was paid! The rescue mission was complete. Here was good news to live for. Here was truth to die for (and many of them did).
After 40 days, Jesus went up into heaven again. Mission accomplished. He sat down at the right-hand of God.
So, that’s why for Christians, Easter is the most important event ever to have taken place. It tells us that the price of our wrongdoing has been paid. Jesus makes us ready to meet God. There’s no need to fear death. One day we will share in his resurrection.