Is Easter Still a Celebration? — Morning Devotions – Hope 103.2

Is Easter Still a Celebration? — Morning Devotions

Does the resurrection of Jesus Christ matter? Does it truly make a difference? All of us have to make up our minds about Jesus. Who do you believe Jesus is?

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsFriday 10 Apr 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes

I have a feeling that Easter is not as popular as Christmas. Everyone loves to celebrate Christmas—but do we celebrate Easter with the same degree of affection? I think not.

There’s no baby Jesus and the warm sense of gifts—it’s different. The Christmas story is easy to live, with the nice carols, and the dramatic rescue from Herod—it’s a feel good story. But not so with Easter.

Easter, especially Good Friday, is the brutal story of a man’s execution in a barbaric manner, nailed to the cross, and left to die a horrible death. It’s not pretty. Definitely R-rated for all the blood, gore, and violence. The death of Jesus Christ is definitely a shocking event which has changed the whole course of history. It’s not a nice story—quite confronting really. But it’s one we need to hear and understand again and again.

Jesus Was Rejected by His Own

Something else about Easter feels wrong. It’s not an entirely happy story. Jesus lived a life of profound, inexplicable grief and sadness. To be completely rejected by everyone, to be purely innocent yet condemned to death is and always will be beyond comprehension. This is not to say Jesus did not have moments of joy and happiness during his years on earth. He did. But he came to his own—to the planet he made—and I imagine he felt deep loss every day at the broken state of all he created and loved.

He came to his own and we rejected him. The world didn’t want a Saviour like that. Instead of viewing Easter as a holiday, which has come to mean a long weekend to enjoy for a break, Christians should return to it being a holy day—Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For it is the holiness of Jesus that gives us new life, the resurrection we commemorate on Easter morning.

For Christians all around the world, Easter marks the celebration of the Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. More specifically, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday and he rose three days later. Hence the four day celebration.

The Big Deal About Easter

We live in a post-modern, post-Christian Australia, where most unchurched people know the basic Christmas and Easter story. The problem is, then, they already know the ‘what’. It’s like knowing how a movie ends before you begin watching it; the suspense is gone. But do they know the ‘why’? Do they really care about the Jesus story? Are they affected in any way? Possibly not.

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Good Friday is the day that the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate, who governed the province of Judea that roughly corresponds to present day Israel and Palestine, presided over the blasphemy trial of Jesus. Unable to bring himself to pass down a sentence of death, Pilate washed his hands—and let the crowd decide Jesus’ fate. When it appeared they wished him to be crucified, Pilate acquiesced. It was not a good day for a fair trial. Crucified on Good Friday, Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday. The question may be asked, What’s the big deal about Easter anyway?

Well, 2000 years ago an event took place in the Middle East that made it possible for our lives to be changed. It was an event that proved that Jesus was who he claimed to be. He is God in the flesh and he came to earth to save us. You may ask, What do I need to be saved from?

All of us have to make up our minds about Jesus. Who do you believe Jesus is?

The reason Jesus died on a cross was to save us from our sin, to pay the penalty for it so that we would not have to. Jesus came to earth and willingly went through a trial where phony charges were brought up against him and he was sentenced to death. Was this something God did not count on? No, it was part of his plan. His accusers didn’t like his claim to be the Son of God. They decided he was worthy of death.

All of us have to make up our minds about Jesus. You either believe he is a liar, a lunatic or he is exactly who he claimed to be. That’s why Jesus willingly went through a trial, to prove who he really was. He said, “I didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it.” He could have stopped the illegal trial, but the cross was part of the plan, dying to pay the penalty of your sin and mine, so that we could be forgiven.

The Big Question

Does the resurrection of Jesus Christ matter? Does it truly make a difference?

The Apostle Paul sure thought so. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul was faced with the startling news that some in Corinth denied the future resurrection of the body. Such a view was adopted by many in the Roman world. Death was the end. Actually, not much has changed since the first century. Today, the same view is held by skeptics of the faith. People are still trying to get their head around a man rising from the dead; they prefer to believe in what they can see and touch. Paul addresses the church in Corinth and he addresses those who are skeptical today.

The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event is overwhelming, so much so that, as Josh McDowell never tires of saying, “There is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus than for just about any other event in history.” McDowell is a Christian apologist who has devoted most of his life to investigating the evidence for and against the resurrection.

He cites, for example, the Koustodia, the Roman Legion unit that most likely guarded Jesus’ tomb to prevent his disciples from stealing his body, then claiming that his pre-crucifixion prophecy of being resurrected had come true. Death was the usual penalty for a Koustodia that failed to do its duty.

So I think that today we can stop say, Yes, Easter is a celebration. Thank you dear Lord that on this day we can celebrate your death and, more significantly, too the Resurrection from the dead. Amen.