Today I would like to talk about Easter. I know. I know. Easter is over. It happened a few Sundays ago, but there is an aspect of it that we should still think about. And that is – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It’s a historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead. There were 500 eyewitnesses that saw Him alive after He had been killed by crucifixion. Many of them talked with Him – ate with Him – and fellowshipped with Him.
Ok, so, He rose from the dead. What are the implications of this for us?
Well, Romans 8:29 calls Jesus the “Firstborn of many brothers”. That means He was the first man to ever be resurrected from the dead and receive a new eternal body. He was the first One – the first born – of resurrected people. We are part of the group called “many brothers”. That means we are also going to be raised from the dead and receive the same kind of body as Jesus.
Let’s look at what Jesus said about this in John 14:19-20.
19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.
20 When I am raised to life again (the resurrection) you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:19-20 NLT
Let’s also look at what Paul said about it in 1 Corinthians 15:51.
51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!
52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown (the last day). For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Finally, let’s look at what Jesus said in John 6:40.
“For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
So, dying is really the beginning of a new life. The grave is not a cul-de-sac – it’s a highway to eternal life.
The grave is not an ending – it’s a beginning. It’s not sorrow but joy.
Now, having heard that you might ask, “How can I be sure I will be raised up at the last day? The Apostle Peter was asked the same question when he preached the very first sermon about the resurrection on the Feast of Pentecost. His answer is recorded in Acts 2:38.
“Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When we repent of our sins, we change the direction of our lives. We do that by submitting to God. That means we stop relying on ourselves — and our own understanding — and our own power. Instead we seek His strength and power and direction in EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES. That’s changing direction of our lives – which is what repentance means.
Baptism is symbol of repentance. It’s an outward manifestation of an inward change. It means we have accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins. It lets everybody know that we have made a decision to stop trusting ourselves and start trusting God. When we do that God washes our sin away. We pass from death (which is eternity in hell) to the resurrection life — which is eternity in Heaven.
And finally, Peter says when we do these things we will receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God – Who comes to live in us. He is the Agent of change in our lives enabling us to follow Jesus instead of our sinful natures. In the process he changes us and makes us more and more godly.
So, that’s the power of the resurrection, and that’s the truth of Easter. Easter is meaningless if we don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. It’s meaningless unless we confess Him as Lord and Savior. If you are asking yourself right now “What shall I do? – the answer is believe and repent. If you do not know Jesus Christ today — if you have not fully believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead — if you have not confessed Him as Lord and Savior of your life, you can do it now.
Right now, you can make the most important decision of your life. You can change your eternal destiny and enter into eternal life — at this moment. Let’s pray.
Father, we pray that Your Spirit would work in the hearts of those hearing these words today. Lord we believe that Jesus is God and man, Who came to earth to die and pay for our sins. We believe You raised Him from the dead — and He now sits next to you in heaven. Lord, we know You are offering to forgive each one of us right now.
At this point I ask each one of you who is praying this prayer to put your name here.
I (just say your name to yourself) accept Your offer of complete forgiveness. I (just say your name to yourself) ask You to send the Holy Spirit to indwell me and change me and make me just like You. Thank You for Your great love for me. Thank You for salvation. In Jesus name I pray. Amen