The Meaning of Easter
Matthew 28:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord
came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and
sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were
white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and
became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be
afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place
where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen
from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see
him.' Now I have told you." 8 So the women hurried away from the
tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9
Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to
him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them,
"Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there
they will see me." (NIV)
Unknowns in life are everywhere. We live with unknowns every day.
Anything can happen to us. Anything from accidents, good fortune, or
mistakes that hurt us. The worst thing to happen to us is
death...whether it is our death or the death of others.
Before Jesus came to earth, mankind could not see past death. In many
ways, we still cannot see past death. We get reports about it. We hear
people recount their near-death experiences or NDE’s, but we still
know very little about what we will experience beyond our last breath.
We have no power over death. We cannot change it. It happens to
Death is the great leveler of mankind. Every human will face an end.
If we look at death only in a secular way, death is a terrible tragedy
for the person who dies as well as for friends and loved ones of the
People hold hopes and expectations about their lives. Many people
only look ahead the next few hours. Other people look ahead to tomorrow.
Still others look ahead to next week, or next year. However, few people
can honestly say they look forward to eternity.
In spite of the fact we all must die, most of us live in hope. Even
when we live in hope, there is that cold reality of death which lurks in
all our lives. However, when Jesus came back from being dead 3 days, He
did not just leave with us a few sayings on how to live our lives. He
left us with a hope beyond hope. Jesus’ resurrection left us with an
expectation, a vision, even a knowledge, that death is not the end of
our existence. Because Jesus was resurrected from death, we can live
with a certainty that death is not the end of our lives.
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of
former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent
protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the
coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers
touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and
hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts
of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign
of the cross on her husband's chest. There in the citadel of secular,
atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her
husband was wrong. She hoped there was another life, and that this other
life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross. She hoped this
same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
Jesus victory over death gives us optimism. There are many reasons to
be pessimistic about this life and this earth. Mankind has been bent on
self-destruction for a long time. We now have the nuclear firepower to
destroy the life of every person on earth. In some countries that now
have nuclear weapons there is now an active the desire to use them.
However, now because of Christ’ death on the cross and His victory
over death, we can be optimistic about our future. We can face death
with optimism every minute, every hour, every day. Christians have
eternity in heaven to look forward to. No matter how bad things are
right now, or no matter how bad things get in the future, there is for
us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, a great tomorrow that goes on
forever and ever. We have before us a glorious tomorrow beyond words to
A man once said the he could still recall a geography lesson from
elementary school in which he learned that the southernmost point of
Africa is a point that for centuries has experienced tremendous storms.
For many years, no one even knew what lay beyond that cape, for no ship
attempting to round that point had ever returned to tell the tale. Among
the ancients, it was known as the "Cape of Storms," and for
good reason. But then a Portuguese explorer in the sixteenth century,
Vasco De Gama, successfully sailed around that very point and found
beyond the wild raging storms, a great calm sea, and beyond that, the
shores of India. The name of that cape was changed from the Cape of
Storms to the Cape of Good Hope.
Jesus victory over death helps us hold on to our faith. By Jesus
coming back, He gave our faith substance. Words fail us in so many
situations. The ideas of faith and substance do not go together. For
example, you can say you believe in angels, yet you may have never seen
one and you can still believe they exist and are real. However, when you
see an angel pick a car up off of child then you have substance to your
faith. The difference is believing and BELIEVING!
Jesus’ victory over death enables us to trust Him. The word trust
means confidence, reliance, or dependence. It is hard to trust what you
cannot see, hear, or touch.
Because Jesus came back,
……..we can trust Him to be with us for ever and ever.
Because Jesus came back,
…….we know we can rely upon Him to have a new home ready for us in
Because Jesus came back,
……..we know we can depend upon Him to help us get through the really
tough times here on earth.
Because Jesus came back,
……..we know we have someone who will stand with us for ever and
Because Jesus came back,
………disaster was turned into enormous promise.
Years ago a tornado struck the prairies of Minnesota, killing many,
injuring hundreds and almost demolishing the town of Rochester. An
elderly doctor and his two sons worked for days aiding the stricken,
bandaging wounds, and setting broken limbs. Their heroic work did not go
unnoticed. Financial backing was offered for a large hospital, provided
the doctor, and his sons took charge. They agreed, founding in 1889,
their clinic soon attracted wide attention. For years, from fifteen to
twenty operations were performed daily. People came from all walks of.
life to the ‘Mayo Brothers’ Clinic. When the tornado struck, people
reacted with, "God has forgotten!" Yet blessing came out of
disaster, and today this prairie city is known around the world. This
disastrous tornado resulted in a blessing to uncounted millions. What
seemed to be a time of anguish and travail resulted in unimaginable
blessings and victory.
If Jesus had just remained dead then what he had said and taught
might have been written about but where would the trust in His truth be?
Where would the trust in His higher power be?
We are willing to invest our lives in Him because He defeated death
and came back to life. We can trust His words, His truth, and Him. We
have or can have a real, live relationship with Him. We can have a real,
live relationship with Him because He is alive this minute. Heaven does
not exist on the other side of the universe. Heaven is just an instant
away. And Jesus spirit, the essence of who He is, can live inside of us
forever and ever.
By seeing Christ come back from death, we can trust God. Because God
delivered for His Son we know He will deliver for us. Many people do not
They don’t think God is really there for them personally. They
believe in God, but they believe in a God who is not a personal God. But
God is a person of love and caring. God is a person of personal love and
caring. To trust God requires we invest in Him and take a risk with Him.
Easter shows us that we can take a risk with God. Easter shows us we can
put our life in God’s hands and God will not fail us.
If Christ had not died and come back, He would probably have been
considered a wise man. His wise teachings might have survived. His
tragic figure on the Cross might have been memorialized. But there was
something different about this man. He defeated death. He died and was
dead for three days. He didn’t just die for a few minutes and have a
near death experience. He was not just brain dead and then woke up. He
really was, really dead. Because Jesus came back from death Easter is a
celebration of victory. Because of Jesus, death has no sting.
If you are not visually impaired, you can see what is around you. Now
we have a way to see forever. For those of us who accept Christ into our
heart and life there is no such thing as "The End." The
magnificence of Jesus victory over death is our victory if we want it.
The magnificence of this event relates to our own future and the future
of those we love and who die. When we lose someone, then God gains.
More importantly, the person we lose also gains. The person we lose
gains the most perfect gift anyone could ever receive...life in heaven…for
ever and ever.
When we lose someone we only lose temporarily. Our pain of loss is
only temporary. When we lose someone our hope goes both ways. We not
only have a real and active hope that the person we lose here on earth
is still living, we can also have an active hope of surviving past our
physical death as well. The fact for Christians is…we no longer just
hope. We "KNOW!!!!" We know with a knowing that is not just a
wispy hope but we KNOW with a certainty that a large part of the people
on earth do not understand.
There is a real difference between hoping and knowing. Hope is an
idea or feeling based upon a belief without concrete evidence. While
knowing or knowledge, is based upon concrete evidence and experience.
The Holy Spirit acts within a person to give concrete evidence and
experience, that is, a knowing about the reality of Jesus’ life, His
death on the Cross, and His resurrection.
Through the action of the Holy Spirit, we no longer just hope, we
come to KNOW. We have seen the evidence. We have seen Jesus. He is
Some people will never believe. Even if you had a videotape of Jesus
walking out of the tomb they would never believe. No matter how many
witnesses you might have that came forward who testify that they had
seen Jesus alive after His crucifixion…some people would not care
whether He came back from death.
For many people, life is totally bleak. They do not care about much
anyway. They do not care about others. They do not even care about
Some people believe Jesus was the Son of God, but they do not connect
the dots. They fear the internal work it takes to connect meanings. They
fear the consequences of looking at their own life. They would rather
stay in their sin and live with their fear of death than make a decision
to change their life and follow Christ.
A few people believe that Jesus came back from death. They see what
all of it means. They take it in. They understand Jesus’ victory over
death gives them the ability to see over the horizon. They understand
Jesus’ being alive now, gives them and others who have accepted Christ
as Savior, a vision so see over the horizon. For these few people, the
things of earth do grow dim, in the glorious grandeur of heaven and
It is about heaven.
It is about a guarantee of heaven.
Easter is about our having a chance to live a wonderful life in heaven,
a place so wonderful we do not have words to describe it...all because
Christ died for us.
Thank you, Lord Jesus.