“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” – 1 Peter 1:3-4.
A Sunday School teacher asked her class to write one sentence each on “What Easter Means to Me.” One pupil wrote: “Egg salad sandwiches for the next two weeks!” When I think of Easter I think of the first words of Jesus: “… I must be about my Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49 KJV) And His last words “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Jesus’ victory over death and mankind’s hope for eternal life motivates me to get up every morning and say, “I must be about my Father’s business.”
The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. The meaning of Easter also symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all.
The past 4 weeks we have talked about temptation and how Jesus overcame the temptations of the the devil. Because of Christ’s resurrection, I have eternal life, yes, but I also can have freedom from the power of sin. What does that mean in real life? It means that I have an obligation to say “no” to my fleshly desires. It means that God has given me the strength to resist temptation. It means that I must die to my selfishness daily and serve God out of love and respect for Who He is instead of going through the motions of Christianity. Christ’s death was the ultimate example of surrender and sacrifice. I too must surrender my desires and will to God and lay all my own pride and wishes on the altar.
So is Easter for you today just another religious story, or is Easter a profound, personal experience for you? Jesus talked about the crucifixion and spoke of the resurrection in Mark 14:26-28: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Jesus told them that He would meet them in the world of the living, not in a tomb of the dead. And this is where the risen Christ meets us—in Northwest Florida where we live. He meets us in our time of temptation, He meets us in our needs, and He meets us in our darkest hours.
Ask yourself this question: What difference would it make in your life if every day you knew, without a doubt, that you were a part of something that is much bigger than yourself? What would Easter mean for you this year and how can it change your life?
- How does the Easter story help you to deal with temptation in your life?
- Read John 2:19-22. Three years before His execution, Jesus predicted that He could and that He would come back from the dead. What impact does that kind of promise made and kept have on you?
- Have you been underestimating who Jesus is? How does the Easter story raise your level of understanding and realization of who Jesus really is?
- How did God speak to you through the message this week?