Easter is the most sacred day on the Christian calendar. As powerful as Christmas is, when we celebrate God coming to earth in the human form of Jesus, he would be left as just another influential spiritual leader without the resurrection from death that we celebrate on Easter. But because of the reality of the resurrection we remember on Easter, the Bible gives us many reasons to celebrate.
Matthew 28:12-15: A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Did you think government coverups were something new? The Romans were afraid of Jesus’ power-why else would you post guards at a tomb? Both they and the religious leaders were afraid of what news of Jesus’ resurrection would bring, so they bribed the guards to lie about it. But that couldn’t prevent news from getting out, as we’ll see next.
1 Corinthians 15:4-6: He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. It’s hard to deny eyewitness testimony-especially when there more than 500 such eyewitnesses! The writer of this passage is saying, “You don’t have to take my word for it, I can send you to hundreds of others who saw it for themselves!” But it was-and still is-a very difficult thing for people to believe. That’s why it’s comforting to know that even one of Jesus’ followers had his doubts at first.
John 20:24-28: One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. The told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe I unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you.” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. It can be hard for those of us today who can’t see a walking, talking Jesus to believe the resurrection really happened. Seeing a skeptic like Thomas become a believer is a convincing testimony to what he saw before his own eyes. And that offers hope for all of us.
1 Corinthians 15:22: Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. On Easter we celebrate the fact that we can have confidence in a new life after this one is over because Jesus has already demonstrated it for us.