By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
In his sermon, “Easter is for Everyone,” Greg Laurie shared about an athiest who was upset because of all the holidays that people of faith celebrate. The atheist said to a friend, “You Christians have Christmas and Easter. And Jews celebrate their holidays, like Passover and Yom Kippur. But we atheists don’t have recgonized holidays. It’s unfair discrimination.” His friend thought about it for a moment and said, “Well, you atheists could celebrate April 1. That could be your holiday. You know, April Fool’s Day. It fits, because the Bible says, ‘the fool has said in his heart there is no God.’ ”
April Fool’s Day and Easter Sunday fall on the same day this year, April 1, 2018. Those who are like the criminal on the cross who rejected Jesus may be called the greatest of fools on April Fool’s Day 2018. At the same time, those who are like the criminal on the cross who accepted Jesus may truly call April 1, 2018 Easter Sunday. Which is it for you?
The resurrection of Jesus the Christ is the hinge on which the door of Christianity swings upon. What’s more, the resurrected Jesus is the foundation on which Christianity is built. Easter Sunday is the day where churches all over the world celebrate with laser-like focus the resurrection of Jesus. How can we avoid being fools and have assurance of the resurrection of Jesus?
The resurrection of Jesus is real. John and Peter raced with anticipation and excitement to the tomb of Jesus that first resurrection day. Upon arriving, John peeked in and Peter barged in while both realized that the body of Jesus was gone (John 20:3-9). When something is gone it means it’s gone. Some people’s hair is gone. Some people’s original hair color is gone. Jesus’ body was gone because Jesus’ resurrection was real. He really did bodily resurrect from the dead. John saw that Jesus’ body was gone and he believed (John 20:8).
Although one disciple believed, neither disciple understood the Scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead (John 20:9). They didn’t strategically lie about Jesus being resurrected to fit with the Scriptures; for they didn’t understand the Scriptures which spoke of Jesus’ resurrection. These two disciples’ inabliity to understand the prophetic passages of resurrection is further evidence that their account of the empty tomb was factual. We can have assurance in the resurrection because of the empty tomb.
The resurrection of Jesus is relevant. We know the resurrection of Jesus really happened in the past, but how does that affect us today? Paul wrote about the relevance of Jesus’ resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. All people are sinners by nature and by choice. Adam, the first to sin, passed his sinful nature on to all of mankind. Therefore, all are dead because of the sin of Adam. Yet, all are made alive who trust in Jesus because He died for the sins of all and was resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 9:22). Jesus was not the first to be resurrected; however, Jesus is the first to be resurrected to never die again (1 Corinthians 9:23). Jesus’ death put death to death. Jesus’ resurrection resurrected ressurection to the point that those who die in Christ will be rasied never to die again.
The resurrected Jesus reigns everyday as we look forward to that Day. Easter Sunday is not the only day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrected Jesus reigns everyday (1 Corintians 9:25-28). Celebrate the resurrected Jesus every day! B&R