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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why Easter is the Most Important Holiday on the Christian Calendar

Photo: Free Bible Images

I believe Easter is the most important Christian holiday.

Why not Christmas? I love Christmas! It’s the observation of Jesus coming to earth, becoming a baby, living among us. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Without Jesus’ birth, we’d never have salvation. So yes, Christmas is vital to God’s plan.

Why not Good Friday? I’m not sure the crucifixion was on Friday, but Good Friday celebrates Jesus’ death on the cross—in the place of sinners. The Bible says that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So the only way we could be saved was if a Perfect Sacrifice (Jesus) suffered to pay the price for our sins. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus did this because He loved us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (the means of appeasing) for our sins (1 John 4:10). So yes, Good Friday is of vital importance to the gospel.

But, to me, Easter is the most important day. Here’s why:

If Jesus had remained dead, there would be no hope for eternity.
  • And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15).
  • And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:17-22).
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Jesus, by His very nature, is Life. 
  • He told Martha, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25).
  • And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (Jesus 6:35).
  • Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).
  • He also said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). Eternal life is all about knowing Jesus.

When believers give witness that they’ve been born again through faith in Jesus, at their baptism, the image of the resurrection is clear: 
  • Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:3-11). Water baptism—by immersion—symbolizes a Christian’s identifying himself with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. He goes under the water and is raised out of the water. It’s an object lesson about what has happened in his heart. It speaks of the assurance of eternal life.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the culmination of the gospel.
  • The Apostle Paul describes the gospel this way: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

The resurrection is evidence that Jesus has victory over death.
  • When the women went to the tomb with spices, they found the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body missing. They saw two angels, who said, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24 :5b-7).
  • You can read all of this chapter for the context. It’s about Jesus’ death and resurrection. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

                    Christ the Lord is Risen Today
                    by Charles Wesley, 1739

                    Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
                    Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
                    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
                    Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
                    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
                    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
                    Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
                    Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
                    Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
                    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
                    Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
                    Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

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