People sometimes ask me, “What’s the big deal about Easter?”
They’re thinking about bunnies and chocolate, maybe a new outfit and brunch at a restaurant. Despite what the stores may want you to believe, Easter is not about any of that stuff. It’s about hope beyond the grave. You take that hope out of Easter, and Easter is just another Sunday...and life ends with death.
All patients who have died of a terminal illness, no hope. All victims of a random shooting, no hope. All who have perished in a fire, no hope. All who have died at sea or in the air, no hope. Each of us who will eventually die, same thing: no hope. We’re to be pitied, because if there’s no hope, Job was right:
“How frail is humanity,
how short is life, how full of trouble!” (Job 14:1)
But remember, Job, who knew more heartache than most of us ever will, didn’t stop there. He affirmed his faith in a living Saviour:
“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought! (19:25–27)
Can you be as certain as Job? Is it possible to know that after death you will rise to meet your Redeemer face-to-face? The answer is yes...because of Easter!
“Christ has been raised from the dead,” Paul declared. “He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
See that word all? That includes us! If you know Christ, if the Lord Jesus lives in your life, you’re among the “all.” You’re a part of that great harvest of all who have died. What “harvest”? Keep reading...
Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. (15:23)
At death, the soul separates from the body, and the body is placed in a grave, either in a casket or as ashes in an urn. Either way, our bodies decay into dust, but that isn’t the end. Christ was raised from the dead and later ascended into heaven. He has promised that He is coming back to earth...and when He returns, He will lift from the grave all of those who have died.
“When the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever,” Paul writes triumphantly (15:52). How good is that?
When I’m officiating a graveside service, as the people are standing together under the tent beside the open grave, I always say, “You may not realize it, but you’re standing on resurrection ground.” I love to watch what happens. Some people take a little step sideways, as if they’re going to block something that’s about to happen underneath them! Of course, the ground doesn’t shift right then. But the fact is, someday, our bodies will be raised from the grave and be instantly changed—made ageless and timeless, free of any further fear of death. From then on, our bodies will last eternally just like the body of Jesus when He was raised. It’s all part of “the harvest.” How can I be so sure? Easter!
What a great promise! Everything hangs on the hope of Easter.
I recall a very moving letter that a parent wrote to me about the death of her 18-year-old son who had committed suicide. Through tears, this grief-stricken mother wrote:
Insight for Living’s message on the radio “Hope Revived” reminded me God is always near. He cares about me and my family, and He revives our hope again and again—hope of seeing our son again, hope for the family to heal. Your last words comforted and broke my heart: “Inevitably, spring follows winter. Every year. Yes, including this one.”
Let her words sink in. If there’s no hope, there’s no spring. But because there IS hope, the winter you’re enduring will end. You can count on it! The new life of spring will come! Not even death will separate us from our beloved loved ones forever. We will be reunited. There will be no more tears, no more sorrow! Pain will disappear. Heartache and despair will be no more. Evil will be destroyed. The darkness will be dispelled once and for all. We will live together in the light of our Saviour, singing His praises in our resurrected bodies forever!
You know why? You know why we have such glorious hope? Because Easter is the biggest promise of all! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.