This Easter season will be a little longer than usual
Easter is about six weeks away.
The date for Easter changes each year. Easter usually comes the first week of April; therefore when Easter is in March, it is considered early. However, Easter this year falls in the latter half of April. If you do not know, and putting aside all the scientific language; Easter is the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the first day of spring. This year that means Easter is April 21.
Easter Sunday might be my busiest day of the year. We always have a sunrise service at the church. In my neck of the woods, sunrise Easter morning is 7:02 am this year; therefore church begins at 7 am. A church breakfast, activities for the children, Sunday School, another church service and after all this it is only noon. A big family get-together, another meal, church in the evening. Often that evening service is followed by the family gathering back at the house and playing board games till nearly midnight.
All this activity Easter Sunday is well and good, and God blesses me with a fantastic church and family; however, the crowning point of the day needs to be the reason we have Easter to begin with — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures only mention a few of Jesus’ miracles. Jesus’ life was so full of activity the world could not contain a book with all of Christ’s miracles (John 21:25). However, with everything He did the resurrection was by far His greatest miracle.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ bring people back from the grave. However, in the case of Jesus Christ – no apostle came to the tomb, no prophet bellowed the words, “Jesus Come Forth!”
Jesus Christ awakened from the dead, there was an earthquake, the giant boulder used to seal the hillside grave rolled away, and the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe, the Saviour, the Lamb of God, God Almighty, walked out of the dark recesses of the grave and death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The greatest of all miracles — through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ rose Himself from the grave.
The miracle of the resurrection is critical to salvation and the Christian faith (Romans 10:9-10).
Scoffers will claim Christ was unconscious and not dead – that His wounds caused Him to pass out and He was removed from the cross while still alive. This theory cannot be – before the cross came the whipping with a cat-of-nine-tails. The cat-of-nine-tails was a leather whip that spread into nine strands. Within the nine strands were pieces of glass, iron, rock, porcelain, and who knows what else. Jesus with His back to the Roman soldier, Jesus was flogged. During the thrashing, those nine strands of leather would wrap around His body, the pieces of glass, iron and so forth would embed into His back, sides, and around into the front of His torso. The soldier would give a hard yank to pull the whip away from Him; causing the ripping of flesh from His body. This whipping was done, repeatedly – thirty-nine times. When the Romans sentenced someone to death by the cat-of-nine-tails, the prisoner would receive forty lashes and left to bleed to death. Even without the cross, also if He did pass out from the whipping, if He had the best medical care of His day, He would not have been walking around on Sunday as if nothing had happened. Even if He did survive, He would not have been walking around at all.
When Jesus was taken down from the cross, He was dead.
The Father was determined to send Christ to the cross, have Him crucified, raise Him from the dead. It was impossible for the grave to hold Him (Acts 2:23-24).
Christ is the “Prince of life,” and we are witnesses of that life which is made possible by the resurrection (Acts 3:14-15).
The power of preaching and salvation has its roots in the resurrection (Romans 1:4).
Easter is late this year, making the Easter season a little longer than usual. This year, Christians have a larger window to tell people about Christ and His resurrection while others are thinking of the holiday. Those extra few days may make an eternity of a difference.
Timothy Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Kingman, Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points can be found at www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com.