When it comes right down to it, the whole of Christianity rests on one central fact–the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As good as the man Jesus was–as kind, as loving–if, after he suffered a martyr’s death, he stayed in the grave…then he would be no better, no different, than any other good man. It would be sad–it is always sad when a good person dies–but that would have been that. His early followers–those who forsook him and ran when he was arrested, some, even denying that they’d known him–would eventually have gone back to their old lives, as indeed they tried to do (see John 21). They would have lived the rest of their lives never forgetting the man from Galilee and the hope he’d engendered, but also disappointed and bitter, wondering how they could have been so deceived.
Then came Sunday…and the empty tomb, and the words of the angel “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here–He has risen!” And everything changed.
I’ve always loved Christmas, but it is Easter that changed the world. The resurrection was the proof that everything Christ claimed about himself was true. He really was the perfect Lamb of God, who took upon himself the sin of the world. He died, that we might live. Because “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…death has been swallowed up in victory. ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15).
It’s all about Easter…