But what Christmas started, Easter actually completed.
The climax of Jesus’ mission on earth wasn’t His birth but His resurrection.
Theologian and apologist Henry Morris had this to say,
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.
What then is the reality, reason and relevance of the resurrection for the 21st century Christ follower?
Jesus was crucified, died, buried and rose from the dead. Paul writing 20 years after Jesus died says in 1 Corinthians 15:6, “Then He (Jesus) appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of who are still alive.”
This is a critical statement of proof for the resurrection for there were 3 major theories to dispute the bodily rising of Jesus from the grave.
HALLUCINATION THEORY: The disciples were deluded thinking that Jesus rose from the dead.
Now if this were true, it’s hard to have 500 people hallucinate at the same time. And after they’ve finished tripping, you would think at least one would recant after being faced with a death sentence.
HOAX: Jesus’ body didn’t rise from the dead but was just stolen to make people think He rose.
This too is a hard one to pull off. It’s very hard to find someone willing to die for a lie.
SWOON THEORY: Jesus just fainted and didn’t completely die.
The Romans were experts at torture and execution. They couldn’t let this happen. And even if this theory was true, a half dead, wounded, mangled messiah wouldn’t be able to inspire followers to change the word – a fearful group to suddenly become extremely bold.
There’s only one explanation: He DID rise from the dead.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Paul tells us that Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave by rising from the dead. But if Jesus didn’t rise, then we would still be in our sins. And if this is so, we are to be pitied among all men for we are believing a lie.
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”― Timothy Keller
Because He rose from the dead, we too have the hope of victory over death. That’s why Paul could trash talk death to its face and say,
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57)
Because of this, we can live life fearlessly.
Because of this, we can be steadfast and immovable.
Because of this we can continue to abound in the work of the Lord because our labor in Him is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Easter is not just a symbol but a powerful event that is a game changer!