Summary: Easter means that Christ died; prophecy was fulfilled; God was satisfied; We are justified; have eternal life; and good news to share.
"Easter Sunday" is celebrated by millions of people world-wide who remember the resurrection of Jesus on this special day. Many people think of it as "the most holy" of religious holidays; and for some, it marks the only time they attend church services.
If it is as important as some would have us think, then it is something we should think about often, certainly more than once a year. But what is it all about? What does it mean?
In our present time we are seeing a number of ideas around, books written and films made suggesting that the Lord Jesus Christ did not die on Calvary. This would mean that He was not buried in the tomb, and so did not rise to new life from the dead! If those suggestions are true, then we can forget about Easter. Paul touches on this thought as he writes to the Corinthian Christians.
1Corinthians 15:19 If we who are abiding in Christ have hope only in this life and that is all, then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied. [Amp]
That the Lord Jesus died on Calvary is a vital issue, as the Scriptures tell us it was there that He was offered as a sacrifice for us, bearing our sin and judgement. That He rose from the dead is also vitally important; as we shall see.
The infallible Word of God, the Bible has clear teaching regarding this important issue. Let us look at some of this teaching, and see what Easter Means . . .
EASTER MEANS . . .
WE HAVE PROOF THAT CHRIST DIED
PROOF BY HIS CHASTISEMENT
Isaiah tells us that what happened on Calvary was for our sakes, dealing with our sin, transgressions, and iniquity.
Isaiah 53:5 He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole. [Amp]
Paul also confirms this in his letter to the Roman Christians.
Romans 5:8 God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. [NLT]
PROOF BY HIS WOUNDED BODY
We see the proof of His death and resurrection when He appeared to the disciples in the upper-room, and spoke directly to Thomas’
John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Bring your finger here and feel my hands; bring you hand and put it into my side; and do not be ready to disbelieve but to believe." [Wey]
Paul, who was not a follower of the Lord at the time of the death of the Lord Jesus, speaks clearly of the crucifixion in his letter to the Galatian Church, and refers to it as a curse!
PROOF BY HIS CURSE
Galatians 3:13 Christ purchased our freedom, redeeming us from the curse of the Law and its condemnation by Himself becoming a curse for us, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified). [Amp]
Much time could be spent to prove from the Word of God that Christ died. We need to accept the reality of the death of the Lord, before we can appreciate the wonder of the resurrection.
There is another important aspect for us to look at, to help us enjoy the thrill of Easter – it is that God had already foreseen all that was going to take place, and not only had He prepared for it, but He inspired the prophets to speak concerning it!
EASTER MEANS . . .
THAT PROPHECY WAS FULFILLED
Previously in Psalm 16, David foretells the resurrection. We need to recognise that he was speaking prophetically of the coming Christ.
PROPHESIED BY DAVID
Psalm 16:10 You will not leave my soul in Hell, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. [NKJV]
The Apostles also observed that the Old Testament was unmistakable concerning the Lord’s death and resurrection, and allude to it without apology or explanation, as none was needed. We refer to the words of the Apostle Paul as he spoke to the Jews at Antioch;
PROMISED TO THE FATHERS
Acts 13:32-33 We tell you the good news that the promise made to our forefathers 33 has come true – that, in raising up Jesus, God has fulfilled it for us their children. This is endorsed in the second psalm: ‘Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.’ [Philips]
See how Paul links Old Testament Scriptures to New Testament happenings.
Perhaps one of the clearest prophetic statements comes from the Lord Jesus Himself as He was approaching Jerusalem while on the way to Calvary. He spoke of His betrayal, crucifixion, and of His resurrection – even declaring the resurrection to be on the third day!