Resurrection Sunday…What is it?
Whether it is called Easter or Resurrection Sunday is not as important as the event and purpose of the resurrection. However, the timing of the crucifixion and resurrection is significantly meaningful. The resurrection of Jesus is the culmination of all things meaningful, faith and fact, in establishing a relationship with God.
God used the timing, which occurred just after “Passover” and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to illustrate the ultimate sacrifice He made for sinners. Without this sacrifice, Christianity would be an empty religion. Every purpose of Jesus Christ, His atonement for sin, would be unfulfilled and the foundation of Christianity would fall apart.
The Passover commemorates God’s “passing over” the Hebrew’s homes by the angel of death (Exodus 12:29). By accepting Jesus, we are promised eternal life and we are saved from spiritual death. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (verse 15) begins with unleavened bread (made without yeast) and sacrificing an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. Leavening represents the escape from bondage and sin. Jesus is called the Lamb of God through whom the only escape is possible.
Jesus…The perfect and final sacrifice for man’s sins.
God requires no other payment for sins! With this provision, mankind is granted opportunity for new life by the forgiveness of sin and escape from its bondage. It is ours for the mere acceptance of this gift.
This is the key event in the New Testament where it is proclaimed throughout. All four Gospels report the miraculous event. In Matthew 28:6 the angel declared “He is not here: for he is risen!” Mark 16:6 reports “‘Don’t be alarmed,’ [the angel] said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.'”
In Luke 24:46-48, the risen Jesus gave His disciples a greater understanding of the resurrection when He told them: “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” Jesus foretells of His resurrection in John 16, then to one of the doubting witnesses, Thomas, He says the following in John 20:29: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
While Jesus was admired and praised as a teacher, healer, and for performing miracles, He was put to death on the cross. But God raised Him from the dead. Had the witnesses not believed what they saw, Christianity would not have spread across the globe and remained a profound belief to this day.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central truth of the Christian faith.
Without it, there is no Christianity. It was the fundamental point in the Apostles’ teaching and preaching and the subject of every sermon found throughout Acts.
Friends, please, let’s not rush through the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday and forget what it’s all about. No matter how you choose to celebrate the day, slow down and consider what our Savior endured three days earlier (Preparation Day for the Passover). We call it “Good Friday” (even though He actually died the day before), and as the day when God purchased my salvation, it is good; but as the day when Jesus Christ died in excruciating, unimaginable physical and emotional pain, there’s nothing ‘good’ about it!
Let’s not celebrate the Resurrection until we’ve spent some time, again, kneeling at the foot of the Cross — not an ornate, flower-covered cross, but a roughly-hewn splintery timber, soaked with the precious blood of Jesus. Kneel there, dare to look up and see His tortured body impaled there, dare even to see the charges against Him: your and my sins, and understand that what held Him there wasn’t the nails, but rather His outrageous love for you and for me.
Only after we’ve cried and mourned on Golgotha, and been covered and cleansed by His precious Blood, can we truly celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Then, “My Redeemer Lives!” will be more than the name of a website or a song in your hymnal. It will be a high-spirited shout, an unrestrained, joyous celebration worthy of the One who conquered death, Hell and the grave . . . . who died but is alive forevermore, whom all of Heaven never ceases to praise, the Lamb of God, Risen Lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Be blessed in Jesus’ name, and remember: Christianity isn’t about going to church; it’s about coming to Christ!