Summary: No other holiday is as critical to the Christian faith as Easter. The very foundation of Christianity stands or crumbles on the truthfulness of the assertion that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The Importance of Easter
Introduction: No other holiday is as critical to the Christian faith as Easter. The very foundation of Christianity stands or crumbles on the truthfulness of the assertion that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Easter is not about religious ritual or tradition. It is about the resurrection of the Son of God, an historical event. It significant because of what the resurrection of Jesus validates.
I. The resurrection of Christ validates Scripture.
A. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
B. Fulfilled prophecy is solid evidence of God’s existence and of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures. There are hundreds of prophecies which predicted and predict future events. The fulfillment of the predictions is not a result of coincidence or chance.
C. Every aspect of the Easter story from the triumphal entry to the resurrection were foretold by the Old Testament prophets:
1. Triumphal Entry – Zechariah 9:9
2. Betrayal for 30 pieces of silver which would be given to potter’s field – Zechariah 11:12
3. The scourging and smiting – Isaiah 53:5
4. Crucified with Criminals – Isaiah 53:12
6. No bones broken – Psalm 34:20
7. Buried with the rich – Isaiah 53:9
8. Raised from the dead
• Psalm 16:10-11 “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”
• Psalm 49:15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah”
D. God authenticated the authority of the Word by fulfilling the promise of a risen Savior.
II. The resurrection of Christ validates the claims of Christ
A. C. S. Lewis wrote: “Among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.” - C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Co., 1943), pp. 54-55.
B. Jesus called this God his Father. He claimed that he himself was the only path to knowing this God and to eternal life. He claimed to have authority to forgive sins. He claimed to be the Messiah.
C. "Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable." - John Duncan
D. According to the New Testament accounts, Jesus, during His ministry, often predicted that He would be raised from the dead (see John 10:17; Luke 9:22, 11:29,30, 16:31, 18:33; Mark 8:31, 9:9, 9:31, 10:34, 14:28; Matt. 16:4, 16:21, 17:9, 17:23, 20:19, 26:32, 27:63).
E. Matthew 28:6 “"He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord lay.”
F. Romans 1:1-4 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”
G. His resurrection from the dead was his ultimate credential, validating his claims. He is the Son of God who came to earth as the sacrifice for our sins, and those who accept him by grace through faith will have eternal life.
III. The resurrection of Christ validates the plan of redemption