I love spring and the Easter season. Early flowers and singing birds are symbols of new life. I can take some time to remember the anniversaries of the final days of Jesus’ life on earth. When those events occurred long ago, His resurrection on Sunday morning was certainly a highlight. Of the many Bible verses to celebrate Easter, I have a few that I find especially meaningful. They speak of the essence of this favorite of Christian holidays.
Bible verses for Easter
Here is my very favorite verse for Easter:
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die'” (John 11:25, 26).
Jesus was talking with Martha when her brother, Lazarus, had died. Jesus was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but first he spoke to the grieving sister and gave her hope. This hope is ours today because Jesus rose from the dead, himself, some weeks later after he had been tried before the religious tribunal and before the Roman ruler of Jerusalem, who sentenced him to death on the cross at the insistence of the religious leaders and the gathered crowd of people.
I am glad to know that Jesus is the “resurrection and the life.” If I did not know this hope, I would grieve with no hope over the death of my grandmothers and others I love who have passed away. Now, I really miss them. Still, I know that those who believe in Jesus will live with him forever! I can be happy with the assurance that I will see my grandmothers again because we are believers.
Thinking about the hope that Jesus gives because He is life itself, I think of this verse:
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Our ultimate Father is God, himself. While a popular opinion may be that there are many ways to reach him, Jesus tells us plainly that the only way we will succeed in attempts to find and reach God is through Jesus. He is the way to get to the Father; he is the only truth about God; and he is the source of life. Such claims by a “mere man” are strong. Jesus was making himself the only source for humans to find God, to grasp truth and to have life.
I am glad I have someone I can look to, the solid Rock that holds the power of Life in loving hands, and that is the ultimate Truth and Way to God. Nothing is certain in this world and I do not want to base the meaning of my life on some vague, shaky, uncertain, “anything goes” philosophy.
I find in these verses that Jesus is holding out life and hope. It is up to me whether I will accept it and make the concept my own. No pressure is put on humanity to force acceptance. I choose to believe that Jesus is all he says that he is. I have tried him out for myself and found him to be real, but these facts help assure me in my belief:
“He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (1 Corinthians 15:4).
The Old Testament Scriptures in the Bible are full of references to the promised Redeemer, the Rescuer of Israel and humanity. Of particular details, he meets every one, and examining those texts is definitely an amazing study. The jealous leaders of the day thought they were taking Jesus out of the picture, but he was in control and everything that happened fit in with his plan to save the world and make a way beyond evil and the grave.
More than one person saw Jesus die on the cross, and more than one saw him after his resurrection.
Jesus had told his followers many of the things that lay ahead for him, about his rejection by the religious leaders, and his death and resurrection like in this text when he said of himself:
“‘They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again'” (Mark 10:34).
Women who cared about Jesus and were his followers before his death came on Sunday morning to embalm his body. They did not remember that Jesus had said he would rise on the third day. They were the first to the tomb and the first to hear that Jesus had risen from the dead. Here is one account of their experience that morning when they came and found the tomb empty:
“As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.’ Then they remembered that he had said this” (Luke 24:4-8).
Once reminded, they did recall that Jesus had told them he would live on the third day. They must have been thrilled. They did not have to embalm his bruised, bloodied and lifeless body. He was alive! They ran back to tell Jesus’ twelve closest followers who were together in one upper flat locked in and afraid the soldiers might come for them at any minute because they were Jesus’ disciples. The women probably could hardly wait to tell them the good news so they would have something to lift their spirits like nothing else could.
I have been in a dark time when I felt as if I was in an unsuccessful venture into which I had put my whole self. I was in a difficult job situation where I felt that my boss, who I really admired, was letting me down in a major way. As long as I remained in employment, I had to respect and support this boss when this person was not supporting me at all. The disciples did not understand the Scriptures nor did they grasp what Jesus had been telling them. Now they felt a tremendous let down and that what they put their lives into was completely destroyed. Often, when things look their darkest, when there seems no reason to keep looking up, the light springs forth and life is resurrected once again.
John remembered what Jesus had previously said. On that Sunday morning when Jesus rose from death, he remembered. In fact, he had not seen Jesus alive yet when he believed. In the following, short narrative, John calls himself “the other disciple:”
“Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed- for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead” (John 20:3-9).
When John saw the folded material that had wrapped Jesus, he believed what Jesus had said before he died. From that day on, he did not forget the memory of that morning at the empty tomb. I try to picture the scene and imagine what it must have been like for John and the other followers. They had not wanted to listen to Jesus’ predictions of suffering and death, or they just had not understood his words until that Sunday. Then, they could think about all that Jesus had told them, marveling that he had known it all before. They could study the Scriptures and see how each prophecy fit with Jesus’ life.
Today, we can read these Bible verses to celebrate Easter. I am glad I can read about the things that happened on that Sunday morning in the days of the New Testament. I am thankful for the opportunity to read about Jesus being the Source of all life, and about how he has power over the grave. What about you? Are you with me? Letting our hearts to spring to life as we allow ourselves to believe these Bible verses for Easter?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.