He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me (Mt 28:1-10).
What is the significance of Easter Day? The beginning of the end? The end of what? The age of inescapable sin and perpetual sacrifice? Is it a perception of divinity? Confirmation of Jesus’ claim to authority? We no longer live in a world where carpenters get resurrected, so the meaning is lost or uncertain. Easter Day is now more about chocolate eggs than the hope and assurance of eternal life. We put our fingers through the holes in His hands, and still doubt what we know to be true. Resurrection violates the laws of nature. Even when we see, we do not believe. If it cannot be scientifically established, it cannot be. And so the most seismic preternatural event in the history of mankind – the most crucial celebration of the Christian calendar – has become just another day.
God is dead, we are told. It is time to grow up, conform to law, become enlightened, take responsibility for our actions and put away childish fairy tales and ancient superstition.
And yet… and yet…
..night becomes day; winter turns to spring; mourning becomes laughter; barrenness turns to fruitfulness. Faith lives from Easter Day.
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. The Christian faith stands or falls with Christ’s resurrection. His death on the Cross – ‘suffered, crucified, dead’ – is a historical event effected by men. His resurrection – ‘on the third day he rose again’ – is an apocalyptic event realised by God.
The Cross of Christ stands at the end of world history: the raising of the dead heralds the eschatological beginning of the new creation.
Jesus is alive. Hallelujah!
Still the earth resounds on Easter Day with the joy of that event 2,000 years ago. Just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land, so He delivered mankind from sin and death that we might have eternal life. The blood of the first Passover which spared Israel’s firstborn foreshadows the second Passover and the Lamb who died that we might be born again.
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
To have mourned at the Cross, despaired at the death, wept by the graveside, and then to have met the Risen Christ must have been an inexpressible joy. That joy is now ours through revelation and experience: the transfiguration of Christ’s dead body is the beginning of the transfiguration of all mortal life. Easter Day opens the portal to an event and a continuing presence: it is historical, eschatological and immanent; then, now, and yet to come. It is ultimate, total and perfect.
A joyous and blessed Easter to you all.