EASTER MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN CHRISTMAS?

Blog Banners.001Christmas is the most celebrated time of the year. I can understand why. 

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?

1. REALITY

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.

2. REASON

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

3. RELEVANCE

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!

WEEKEND WIND DOWN

  • Restful week and lots of family time.  THAT is always good.
  • Reconnected with old friends.
  • Plenty of swimming time with the kids.
  • Ate lots this past week.  THAT is not that good.
  • Easter egg hunt with the kids.  Had to explain the history of the egg hunt and that resurrection day had nothing to do with bunnies and eggs.  Nothing against Easter egg hunts but we just need to make sure we don’t miss out on the real celebration of Easter Sunday.  THAT won’t be good.
  • Glenn Quizon’s zip line in his farm was phenomenal!  You have to ask him about that one time.
  • Ate lots of ice cream and candies.  THAT wasn’t very good.
  • Road the bike with Ryan around U.P.  Got some daddy time with him.  Then haircut.  Them sweet japanese corn along katipunan’s really good.
  • Preached at the 5 and 7 pm services with a splitting headache.  I made a mistake of walking to Market Market  under the sweltering heat from the frigid Every Nation Building and back.  My head started to throb in no time.  Thanks to Mr. Alfred Albarracin for some head ache busters.
  • We saw scores of people come to Christ this weekend.  What an Easter weekend!  THAT is always very good.  And THAT never grows old.

    EMPTY CROSS, EMPTY GRAVE FOR WHAT?

    I was having merienda with my friend Edwin one afternoon at the Javier-Royola Clubhouse. He made a comment that made me thinking.

    “My perspective has changed since I met Christ. I grew up somber and sad every holy week.  But understanding what Jesus accomplished on the cross, things have taken a new light.”

    No disrespect to those observing the Holy Week with a somber disposition.  People can go overboard by not even thinking about why we observe Holy Week.

    But Holy Week without Sunday is virtually incomplete.

    It’s not just about the suffering of Jesus.  The suffering led to what happened on Sunday – His victory over death and the grave.

    Paul the apostle makes a declaration in his letter to the church in Colossae.

    “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col. 3:13-17)

    What did Jesus accomplish that Sunday morning?

    1. God made us alive with Christ.

    We are not just alive in Christ.  We were made alive with Christ.

    Through Him, death no longer has a hold on us.

    2. God forgave us from our sins.

    Sin separates us from God.  Sin causes death.  Death is two pronged – cessation of life and separation from God.

    By His sacrifice at the cross, we no longer have to suffer the penalty.  It should have been us nailed there.

    3. God disarmed the powers and authority.

    Hebrews 2:14 tells us that “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil…”

    The devil has been disarmed with what Jesus did that Easter morning.  He has won over death and the grave.

    Because of that, we know that victory can be achieved in this life as much as in the life after.


    “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:55-57)

    “JESUS DIDN’T REALLY RISE FROM THE DEAD!”

    This would be another claim people make.  Dissing this truth would be to ‘dis’ the divinity of Jesus.  And when one convinces himself of that, then there’s really no need to submit to Him as Lord, similar to what happens when we dispel the truth that Jesus did die.(previous post here)

    William Lane Craig, one of the leading apologists for the resurrection of Jesus lists down evidences of His resurrection.

    1.  His tomb was empty.

    Some claim that His body was stolen.  Others claim that He escaped.

    A few problems with that.  There was a huge stone that covered the entrance.  At His mangled, beaten up condition, that wouldn’t have been possible.

    Also, the stone was too big that several men was needed to roll it.

    In addition, there were guards that were posted at the entrance to ensure that no one would steal His body or that He wouldn’t be able to escape.  Roman law that time decrees that losing the body would merit death of the soldiers.

    To ensure the security, the government seal was place on the entrance.

    But with all these, to this day, we know that the tomb is still empty.

    2. He was seen by many.

    Evidence shows us that not just the women who were going to visit the tomb saw the empty tomb.  The disciples saw Jesus.  Thomas who doubted that He was really alive wanted dispel his doubts by touching Jesus’ nail scarred hands.

    Not only did the apostles saw Jesus, more than 500 saw Him too.

    Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:17,19, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins… we are to be pitied more than all men.”

    But thanks be to God, Jesus has trumped death.  And because of that, we have the hope of eternal life if we believe, receive and trust in what He did for us.


    “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:55-57)