…“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46, 47 ESV
I recall Mom telling me that the neighbor teen who was several years older than me had asked his mother what Easter was about. Surely there was something more to Easter than a bunny and egg hunts, he questioned.
His lack of knowledge surprised me, for I frequently heard at church of Jesus dying on the cross and later being raised from the dead. Yet sometimes I wonder in hearing the story so often if I lose the impact of what Jesus did for each of us, of what He did for me. Do I take His sacrifice for granted? Sometimes I must confess that I do. I get so tied up in my own life that I ignore the need of others to know that Jesus died on the cross for them. Instead of sharing the good news of Jesus, I let fear of the person’s rejection keep me from telling them what they need to know for eternal life.
I wish I could go back in time and explain to my neighbor what I am about to share with you.
Why do we celebrate Easter, otherwise known as Resurrection Day?
Jesus Christ came to earth not as a good teacher or a prophet, but as the Son of God. He came to set us free from the bondage of sin which separates us from God. Christ came to reconcile us to the Lord.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 ESV
Yet God loves us so much that He didn’t want to lose us to the eternal punishment our sin deserves. He provided the sacrifice for sin thorough the blood of Jesus Christ, who was without sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23ESV
Jesus willingly submitted to the Father’s will even though it meant betrayal by one of His followers, desertion by His friends, an illegal trial, and persecution even to His death on the cross, the most cruel and detestable way one could die in the Roman world.
Before Jesus died, He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) What was finished? He paid our punishment for sin. It is paid in full. The way to God the Father was now open for all who believe in Jesus.
Jesus’ story wasn’t over as he laid dead in a borrowed tomb. Jesus’ body was not robbed from the grave by His followers. He didn’t swoon and then come to and push a massive boulder uphill to open the tomb’s doorway. Three days after His death Jesus took up His life again. He is risen! Righteous Jesus is victorious over death and over the penalty of sin because He paid it.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to hundreds of His followers over the course of forty days. At one of the gatherings soon after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to the eleven disciples and those who were with them and He showed them His hands and feet so they would know it was He. Jesus helped them to understand what had happened.
“These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning Me.” He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures. The He said to them, “Thus it was written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:44-48 NKJV
Christians celebrate Resurrection Day because Christ’s resurrection declares His victory over death and sin, and because of the promise of eternal life for those who follow Him.
As we enter this time of Easter celebrations, let’s remember what our Resurrected Jesus did for us.
Lord Jesus, Thank you for Your sacrifice for me. Thank you for the victory You made possible through Your death and resurrection. Amen.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV Text Edition: 2016. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scriptures marked NKJV are taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION (NKJV): Scripture
taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION®. Copyright© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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