Summary: An Easter Message.
EASTER — THE SPRING OF GOD’S SEASONS
INTRO: This morning I am reminded of that old, well known song: "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way.” It’s the kind of day that causes one to think of the words in the Old Testament in the Song Of Songs 2:11. "See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season for singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms it’s early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; My beautiful one, come with me. The time for singing has come!” That’s what this day is for us. The winter is over, and the time for singing has come.
Imagine for a moment that the long hard winter was never to end. That we woke up one morning and the scientists informed us that the earth had twisted on it’s axis, and we would never see spring or summer again. Just think of a perpetual February. There is a line in C.S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Lucy enters the land of Narnia, and it’s always winter there. Always snowing. Always cold. Always frozen. Always.
This is what the apostle Paul tells us that life would be like if Jesus Christ had not been raised from the dead on Easter Sunday. Always winter and never spring. Always dying, and nothing beyond! “If Christ has not been raised,” says Paul, “our faith becomes futile.” (V. 14) Hope becomes hopeless. We are stuck in the winter. Always surrounded by death and dying. Pitiful people! Winter people! Hopeless people.
That is what it was like for those disciples on Friday and Saturday. That is what it was like for Mary, after the body of her Lord was laid in the tomb. That’s how it was for Peter, James, John. Pitiful people! Winter people! Hopeless people! And then came Easter morning. And Jesus came back to them. He was God’s gift to them. Something that was precious and was lost and is now found. Someone they had loved was restored. And the winter is over. The time for singing has come! The time for victory is here!
Easter means victory. It means Christ’s victory, but it means more than that. It means victory for each one of us today. He was vindicated on that day, but we too are vindicated. That is the nature of all great victories. They mean something for the individual victor, but it is inevitably a shared victory.
That is the most wonderful thing about this Easter morning. This resurrection Sunday. This Victory day. We have been vindicated with him. It is our victory too!
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul shares with his audience the tremendous significance for the life of the believer. Vv. 3-8 he takes the time to establish proof of the resurrection. From vs. 12 onward he emphasizes that the basis of our hope is Christ’s resurrection. Without that, all is lost. Then in vv. 42-44 he begins to outline some significant differences between a life centered around the hope of the resurrection, and one apart from it.
I. Victory Over Death’s Defeat.
In vs 42 Paul says we are sown perishable. But because of the resurrection we are raised imperishable. We are born into this life as perishable beings.
But because of the resurrection we have eternal life. From the moment you receive Jesus Christ into your life, you have victory over death. Your physical body might fail you or fade from you, but your soul will never die. You will be raised, forever to live with Christ in heaven.
You become imperishable. In the resurrection account the angel said to the women at the empty tomb, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" They did not understand, but they soon would. When they realized what he meant they no longer spend their lives fascinated with death. They spent the rest of their lives fascinated with life.
One of the greatest historical proofs of the resurrection is that the early church showed virtually no interest in the tomb of Jesus. That is amazing when you consider their background. All of their middle eastern and Jewish counterparts were very interested in grave sites. The most precious and sacred site for ancient Israel and the modern Jew is Mount Zion.
Why? Because it’s the burial site of King David. Throughout the East there are pyramids and monuments dedicated to Pharaoh which remind us of their fascination with death. But after the resurrection of Christ, those New Testament believers had no more need to be consumed by death, because they now had the guarantee of eternal life. In Christ, the greatest and the lowliest have the assurance that death is no longer victor because of the resurrection of Christ.