Countless number of people around the world recognize Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday – the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after March 21. We cannot be certain of the origin of the term “Easter.” It is likely an Old English word of Germanic origin, that honors a goddess associated with spring. Others say it comes from the German word for resurrection. The word “Easter” is found in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version. Other translations translate it (the Greek word pascha) “Passover.” This Greek word (pascha) is found 29 times in the Greek New Testament, yet it is translated Easter only once, even in the King James Version.
Christians are not commanded or otherwise authorized to celebrate Christ’s resurrection as a designated annual event. Christians are to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on a weekly basis (John 20:1ff; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1-2).
I am glad, however, that people all over the world take time to recognize Christ’s resurrection! I wish they would do so much more frequently! I like to talk to people about Christ’s resurrection! Why wouldn’t any Christian? We need to be able to talk about the resurrection of Christ to our family, our friends, our neighbors, to anyone who will listen!
What makes Christ’s resurrection from the dead so significant? First, the resurrection of Christ is good news! The apostle Paul wrote, “ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain (I Corinthians 15:1-2). The very word gospel means good news! It includes the good news of the kingdom of God and salvation through Jesus Christ made possible by His death, burial and resurrection. I Corinthians 15:2 tells us it is by the gospel that we are saved. If Christ were not raised, we would still be living with the burden of our sin (I Corinthians 15:17).
All of us will die one day (unless, of course, we are a part of those living at the time of Christ’s return). “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27). Conquerors throughout the history of the world, such as Alexander the Great, have been considered powerful by others yet they have died. Samson was known for his great strength, yet his strength did not enable him to escape death. Solomon was known for his great wisdom, yet his wisdom did not enable him to escape death. Methusaleh lived to be 969 years old, yet he eventually died.
Only Jesus conquered death. Consider the accounts of Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (II Kings 2:11). Although these men did not die, they did not conquer death in the sense that Jesus conquered death. These men were not dead and later resurrected. Consider the case of Lazarus. He was resurrected, yet he died again.
Second, the resurrection of Christ is significant because it proves He is the Son of God. Take note of the following passages: Take note of these words from I Corinthians 15:3-4: “3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Christ died according to the scriptures. Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet would remain silent (Isaiah 53:7). Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm that speaks of Jesus’ words from the cross, his bones not being broken but out of joint while on the cross, the piercing of his hands and feet and the soldiers casting lots for his garments.
Christ rose from the grave according to the scriptures. Psalm 16 includes a prophecy that Christ would be raised from the grave on the third day.
Christ’s death, burial and resurrection were the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, proof that He was the Son of God. Romans 1:4 – “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”
Third, the resurrection of Christ is significant because it gives Us Hope. The apostle Paul wrote, “16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (I Corinthians 15:16-23).
The firstfruits were the first born of the flocks and the first of the grains to be gathered at harvest time. The Jews thought of these as belonging to God in a special way. They were offered to God on the day of the firstfruits as part of the celebration of Pentecost (offered fifty days after offering of the barley for the Feast of Unleavened Bread – Numbers 28:26; II Chronicles 31:5).
Just as offering the firstfruits served as an acknowledgement that the whole harvest is possible because of God (Leviticus 23:10-16), Christ being the “firstfruit” of them that are asleep is an acknowledgement that our resurrection is possible because of Christ. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope of our resurrection. Hope of an incorruptible body. Hope of a spiritual body. Hope of an immortal body. A desire that we too will one day be raised from the dead.
Finally, how can we benefit from Christ’s death, burial and resurrection? “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
I hope everyone reading this has a good day today! More importantly, I hope everyone reading this thinks of Christ’s resurrection year round!