Why Easter Changes Everything
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-22, 50-58.
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the broader culture, Easter has always played second fiddle to Christmas. The Christmas celebration is more than a day of remembrance of Christ’s birth it has become a month-long celebration with parties, Christmas carols, and festivities concluding in the exchange of presents with family on Christmas day. However, for the Christian it is Easter, rather than Christmas that becomes the bedrock of the Christian faith. While Christmas reminds us of the arrival of the Messiah, it is Easter that stands as the pinnacle of redemptive history. The significance of Christ’s life is not found in the message of Christmas, but in the event of the death and resurrection of Christ. In his death we find the culmination of the redemptive story that began in the Garden of Eden. The whole message of the Old Testament was an arrow pointing to the arrival of Christ to provide the final and effectual atoning sacrifice for our sin. Even today we celebrate our faith with the image of the cross. We wear it as a piece of jewelry, we place it in the front of our church sanctuaries, we hang it in our homes.
However, for Paul, the gospel message was not just found in the death of Christ, but also in the resurrection of Christ. For Paul, both the cross and the resurrection captured the essence of Christ’s redemptive work. While the cross provided the means of our salvation the resurrection provided the validation of the person and message of Christ. If Christ was not raised from the dead, then the Christian faith crumbles and those who believe in Christ are pursuing a myth (vs 14). However, Christ’s resurrection changed everything. It furnished the visible confirmation of the person of Christ, substantiating his claim as the Son of God. It gave us the assurance of the sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work; that our sins are fully forgiven, and the price was completely paid.
The resurrection further gives us the assurance of our own resurrection as Christ became the guarantor that we would be raised from the dead at the end of the age. In this life, death seems to be the ultimate victor. It confronts every person and is so relentless that no one can escape its grasp. While death is till the reality of a fallen world, Christ gave us victory over death so that we have hope and confidence even as we are confronted with it. For the follower of Christ, death is no longer the end of life, rather it is be means by which we are ushered into eternal life where we obtain true immortality. But the reality of death is more than just physical. The consequence of sin was spiritual death as well—eternal separation from God. The resurrection of Christ not only guaranteed our physical resurrection, but our spiritual resurrection as well—that we would spend eternity in fellowship with the living God.
But this does not just define our future, but also rearranges our present. If there is no resurrection, then there is no other purpose in life except to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (verse 32). But the resurrection changes our priorities. Instead of living for merely the moment, we live in such a way that our faith defines our life. Our life is now lived with an eternal perspective where we set upon to serve Christ (verses 58). Whereas we celebrate Christmas for a month, we will celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ for eternity.. Since Christ rose from the dead, remain steadfast and immovable in your faith and focus in your life, striving to serve Christ by doing that which has eternal results. In this age of the threat of the Covid-19, Easter reminds us that the real threat is not the threat of death, but of a wasted life lived apart from Christ.