In last week’s devotion ‘What More Should He Have Done?’, we saw how Jesus accepted the hopeful shouts of ‘Save us!’ from the crowd as He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, all the while anticipating the hateful shouts of ‘Crucify Him!’ from the very same crowd that would be erupting just five days later when He would be standing before Pilate on Good Friday. Although completely sinless, He endured a criminal’s death by crucifixion to make a way for sinful man to be reconciled to God. The perfectly innocent died for the totally depraved!
But remember, last week we also saw that, prior to His death, Jesus clearly told His disciples that He would be killed and then rise again the third day (see also Matthew 16:21, 20:17-19).
- Matthew 17:22-23 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
So powerful was Paul’s personal encounter with the risen Lord as he traveled to Damascus to continue his persecution of Christians (see Acts 9:1-9), that afterwards, Paul became the greatest evangelist for Christ during the early years of the church.
But why is the resurrection of Jesus so important to Christians? Why is Easter Sunday the most holy day of the year for the Church? After all, Jesus had already died as a once for all time sin offering to God for the sins of the world (propitiation – ‘appeasement’: Jesus’ death is the means by which Father God’s demand of payment for the sins of the world was satisfied).
- 1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
- Important Note – God desires that every person in the world be reconciled to Him (see Ezekiel 33:11, 2 Peter 3:9). However, the payment Jesus made for your sins is only applied when you, through an act of your will, genuinely trust and respond to the good news about Jesus and surrender all of your life to the His Lordship (see John 14:6). This is salvation by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that:
- He is who He claimed to be (God)!
- That all of His promises are true.
- That the ultimate enemy, death, has been defeated.
- That there is a bodily resurrection from the dead.
- That those who trust Him as Savior will experience eternal life in Heaven.
- John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
- 2 Timothy 1:9-10 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
- 1 Timothy 1:14-16 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
- 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Easter is a remembrance, acknowledgment and celebration of Jesus and what He did.
- He humbled Himself and stepped out of eternity to come to earth, as fully man and fully God, to live a sinless life, and to fulfill God’s Law!
- He subjected Himself to humiliation, torture and death to pay our sin debt to God!
- He rose from the dead to leave no doubt of who He is and what He has done!
- He appeared to many as the resurrected Lord to factually establish, for all time, that His Deity and the resurrection of the dead are real!
There is so much more He did!
There is so much more He is doing now!
There is so much more He will do in the future!
He does it all as God!
He does it all in love!
He does it all for you!
Have you responded to His love in saving faith? If yes, hallelujah! If no, what better time than right now?
Father, Your love and truth challenges us: for those who follow Jesus, to live a life that honors You; for those who have not received the gift of eternal life through faith in Christ, to make a decision about You. Please do what needs to be done for Your name to be lifted high and for the lost to be reconciled to You. I pray for Your will to be done in all things. I pray in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.