I am blessed to teach theater to our kindergarten classes. We learn through playing theater games and, being it was close to Easter, I decided to play some Easter games. In one game we move from being eggs, to chickens, to roosters and finally someone becomes the Easter Bunny. In another, the kids ran races holding their ankles so they would waddle like ducks.
Before we started, however, I wanted them to know about the real reason we celebrate Easter. When I asked them what really happened at the very first Easter I had immediate reason to appreciate their teachers and their parents because they all shouted as one, “Jesus rose from the dead!!!”
It’s easy to get lost in Easter eggs and candy, but those are not the real reason we celebrate Easter. We celebrate because all God’s promises of the coming Messiah were accomplished when Jesus came from death to life. He was not simply another Messiah wannabe. He was the promised Savior doing what only God could do.
William Lane Craig suggests that, “Without the belief in the resurrection, the Christian faith could not have come into being. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. Even if they continued to remember Jesus as their beloved teacher, His crucifixion would have silenced any hope of his being the Messiah. The cross would have remained the sad shameful end of his career.”
Because Jesus rose from the dead to new life, so are we now brought to new life through faith and His resurrection gave us reason to worship Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 1:3 reminds us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
We get further evidence of God’s grace in Romans 8:11 when it says, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Jesus’ resurrection was just a foretaste of things to come for all who place their trust in God and in whom His Holy Spirit rests. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
Before he was crucified and died, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Resurrection and the Life. He turned a word that we think of as a verb into a noun. In doing this He was making a grand statement. In saying this he was stating that through His resurrection, all believers would be granted everlasting life in a place free from the sorrows of the world. He said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Proof was given through His resurrection that all things would become possible. His resurrection was a true foretaste of everlasting life because it proved His divinity and galvanized the faith of His followers. Before Christ’s resurrection his disciples were still grasping for meaning, after His resurrection all things became clear, and their conviction was secured even to death.
Because they witnessed His resurrection, they knew now that there was no longer to be any doubt in their minds. They could proclaim the Gospel with utmost confidence because they had proof that God was always true to His promises. The Messiah had truly come, and the world needed to know.
That same message of our resurrected Lord and the promises fulfilled is still the greatest message that we have to give, and it needs to be shared. People need to hear that because Jesus rose from the dead, so will the faithful be raised. Christ is alive, He is not dead. Even today, He works through His Holy Spirit to bring us to the truth, the truth that will eventually lead to everlasting life. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to rise again as an example of Your divine goodness and grace. Help us to share the story so that others might find peace in the promise. Lead us to be examples of faith. Amen.