By Chris Gillespie
It’s hard to imagine that we are talking about Easter already. At the time of the writing of this article we are only 6 ½ weeks away from the Churches big day! Which should prompt us to ask, “Why is it such a big day?” Now that’s a question worth thinking about, and pondering for a while.
The Apostle Paul certainly thought that the resurrection of Jesus was a massive issue. Listen to how he emphasized the importance of what took place on the first Easter Sunday, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor.15:3-4).”
Later in the same chapter he continues his thoughts on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus by saying, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (vs.13-14).” So, according to Paul, without the resurrection of Jesus on the third day the Christian faith is a joke, and a waste of time! Thankfully he continues by saying, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (v.20).”
So, why is Easter such a big deal? The most frequent response is because it secured our salvation because Jesus was victorious over death, and through our connection to him we are also assured victory over death and eternal life with God. Thankfully, that’s true! But there is more. It doesn’t guarantee some disembodied existence with God where we float around like ghosts with wings, plucking golden harps. What it guarantees is future life, in a resurrected body living in a resurrected world with God forever. Now that’s good news!
The key to all of this is found back in v.20. Listen again to how Paul explained the result of the resurrection. He said, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The word “firstfruits” means the first of much more fruit to come. In the context he’s talking about Christ’s bodily resurrection as the first bodily resurrection that will produce many more resurrections in the future. Paul commented on this future resurrection in v.23 when he said, “But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” So, when will the bodily resurrection for believers happen? When Christ returns! When will that happen? Nobody knows. So, until then, rejoice and serve the Lord who lived, died, and rose from the dead for you so that you could someday inherit a new, perfect body so you can live with God forever.
Also, this resurrection doesn’t stop with humanity. It will extend to the entire created order. You can read about this in Romans 8 where Paul explains that salvation extends beyond humanity to all of God’s creation. And…the incredible news is that this New Creation has already begun. It started when Jesus was raised from the dead, and it happens every time a person is “born again” by God’s grace. Paul said it like this in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
This is why Easter is such a big deal…the New Creation has come (Jesus’ resurrection), is coming (every time a person is born again) and will come (when Jesus returns).
Redeemer Church Easter Gatherings:
Good Friday (April 14) 5 & 6:30 PM
Easter (April 16) 8:30, 9:45 & 11 AM