Why Easter Matters
Introduction: The enthusiastic Sunday School teacher looked at the class of four-year olds and asked this question: ''Does anyone know what today is?'' A little girl waved her hand, ''I know. I know! Today is Palm Sunday.'' ''That's fantastic!'' the teacher replied.
''Does anyone know what next Sunday is?'' The same little girl held up her hand and said, ''Next Sunday is Easter Sunday.'' Again, the teacher replied, ''That's great!'' Then the teacher asked, ''Does anyone know what makes next Sunday Easter?'' The little girl again responded, ''Yes, next Sunday is Easter Sunday because Jesus rose from the grave.'' Before the teacher could congratulate her, the little girl added, ''And if he sees his shadow, he has to go back in for seven weeks!''
Lest there is any confusion, let me explain as clearly as I can what Easter is all about. Today we celebrate and proclaim the fact that Jesus is alive. He was crucified for our sins, buried, and on the third day arose from the dead. The tomb was empty. Death was defeated. He ascended to the right hand of the Father above. He is returning someday to judge the living and dead. All of that hinges on the truth we celebrate this day. Christ is alive!
When I say, ''Jesus is alive,'' I am not just saying that the legacy of Jesus survives. That is also true. But that's not the resurrection. Of course, loved ones live on in our memories. Obviously, great men leave a mark on history that time does not erase. We honor the memories of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Their legacies live. But that's not what we mean when we say, ''Jesus is alive.''
Resurrection is not the same as resuscitation. Resuscitation is the coming back from a near death experience. That's not uncommon. Perhaps you know friends whom doctors have revived after their heart stopped. That's not resurrection.
Jesus was clearly dead. He had been beaten, nailed to a cross, exposed to the elements ...
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