For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4
Easter Up Close
It may be easy to dismiss Easter at a distance. When Easter is a faraway object, it may be easy to label it as a fanciful story with lots of drama and a happy ending.
But to confront Easter up close is to wrestle with some pretty stubborn facts. The facts are these: By late Friday afternoon, Jesus of Nazareth was dead. A Roman soldier pierced his corpse to confirm it. The centurion in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion reported his death to Pontius Pilate. With Jesus’ execution complete, Pilate gave the body over to people who took it down from the cross and who buried it in a nearby tomb. Jesus’ disciples, paralyzed by fear and grief, kept themselves behind locked doors and did nothing.
Then, on Easter Sunday, something happened; something so extraordinary that it transformed Jesus’ disciples forever. It transformed these men from hiding in terror to men willing to spend the rest of their lives facing persecution, prison, and death just so they could tell others about Jesus.
The transformation of Jesus’ disciples is a matter of record. One day they were cowering in a locked room, grieving the death of their Master. The next they were changed men, men who possessed a bold, resilient courage no one would ever take away.
Let’s face it. A room full of terrified men does not suddenly change into lifelong courageous men based on some collective whim or wishful thought.
We know what happened. The Bible gives the account. Jesus had been dead and buried, sacrificed to pay for all sins of all people of all time. Then he rose from the dead to prove that his payment for sin was accepted and that he had conquered death for everyone who puts their faith in him.
That one stubborn fact has been changing hearts and lives ever since.
Lord Jesus, bring me up close to the reality of Easter. You were dead, and now you live. Empower me with your Spirit. Let your resurrection refresh my courage to live for you. Amen.