The celebration of Easter is more than a marketing gimmick for eggs, candy, baskets and new spring clothing. And it is infinately more than a cultural mix of pagan and Christian practices passed on through the ages. In fact, whether or not you even celebrate Easter, or believe in the empty tomb, for us all, Easter seals our deal.
There are many reasons why, in my view, Easter matters. My favorites are:
- The life and death of Jesus Christ split time in two. BC/before Christ, now called BCE/before the commom era and AD now called CE/the common era.
- Jesus lived a life that has demonstrated Him to be the world’s greatest influencer because
- He has had the greatest influence on literature. More literature, through every age, has featured Him than any other historical figure
- He has had the greatest influence on music and the arts. Through all cultures, genres, and periods no one has been the focus of or influenced more innovation in music or its lyrics and the arts than Jesus Christ.
- There would be no higher education without Christ’s influence. Jesus followers formed the schools and libraries of history that have spread and become some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
- Science is dominated by Christians who have pursued discovery, exploration, and investigation. Nearly every field of science has been affected by Christian thinkers.
- Other spiritual leaders have used and modified Jesus’ teachings. Hinduism, Krisna, Buddhism, etc.
Such things as these indicate to us that what happened on that Sunday morning, over 2,000 years ago matters, and is still making a difference today. I would like to submit to you that in fact, not only does Easter matter, but Easter literally seals your deal.
History has documented the accounts of Jesus Christ’s life, His brutal murder, and yes, His empty tomb. Actually, there are so many documents and accounts of Jesus’ life and death, that an accurate picture can be reconstructed without using the New Testament accounts.
As a review, here’s what we know about His death:
- He was beated by Roman soldiers
- He was flogged
- He was spit on, slapped, and whipped
- A silver, plated crown was stuck into His head
- A makeshift robe was placed on His bloddied back and shoulders
- A staff was given Him as a pretend scepter
- He was mocked, harassed, and laughed at
- The robe, crown and staff were taken away
- His blood loss was great
- He carried the cross bar of His cross until he fell under it’s weight
- His outstretched hands were nailed to the beam
- His feet were nailed
- A sign was placed over His head, “The King of the Jews”
- The cross was erected and Jesus struggled to breathe
- Asphyxiation ensued
- He breathed His last breath
- There was an earthquake
- The was darkness for 3 hours
- The 4 inch tapestry/veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom
- His side was pierced, releasing blood and water – a sign of death
- His dead body was taken off the cross
- It was wrapped in grave clothes and laid in a tomb
- A stone was rolled to cover the entrance
- The stone was sealed with the Roman seal
- Guards were placed in front of it to guard it
- On Sunday morning, the tomb was empty
Jesus was crucified and He died, but after three days in the tomb, He was alive. He was seen by the disciples, and over 500 other people are documented as having seen Jesus. This was not a mass hallucination. The Roman soldiers had only three days earlier validated His death.
The Roman seal on the tomb is not what sealed your deal, this next part is though.
You’ll remember, that in Jerusalem at this time they were celebrating the Feast of Passover. It was a week long festival that featured the retelling and remembering of the Great Passover in Egypt, which led to Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Because the lamb’s blood was applied to the door frames of homes, the death angel passed over during the 10th plague – the death of the forstborn.
On Passover, it was the blood of a lamb that was celebrated as the Jews remembered their bitter slavery and hardship. That blood, their ticket to life and release from Pharaoh. That lamb, they were to eat, along with unleavened bread as they prepared to travel towards their freedom.
It is that blood, my friend, that seals our deal.
For the Old Testament law was clear that only though the blood would there be atonement. The animal sacrifices of the temples, as cruel or gory as they may seem to us, were the way for man to find forgiveness and redemption. It was through the blood that man was put right with God. Those that participated in such offerings were forgiven.
The principle of atonement through the blood was God’s idea from before the beginning of time. Scripture tells us that Jesus was the Lamb slain, before the foundation of the world. Rev. 13:8 All along, God had Jesus, the Lamb in mind. Jesus’ blood, the atonement for all mankind to be brought back into relationship with God, fully forgiven, accepted and wonderfully loved.
THAT my friend, is what sealed your deal.
When Jesus, the Lamb of God, died on that cross and spilt His blood, it was to pay the price for our redemption. There could be no remission of sins without the blood of the Lamd, and so Jesus willingly gave it. He gave His life, His blood to pay for our deal – our relationship with God. What a deal!!
Not only did He, by His death seal our deal for forgiveness, but by His resurrection, He sealed our deal for victory over death and hell. Because He came out of that grave, He triumphed over death, thus providing for us every key that we need for victory in this life.
Like I said, what a deal??!!!
There may be one who says, I don’t believe that, I won’t accept those claims. That is your prerogative. But that in no way negates it’s truth. Truth does not need your validation to be true. Theses things are true, no matter who or what wrestles with it.
Just like the one in Jesus’ circle of disciples who chose not to believe in Him, there will be those. But for those that do believe, there is eternal life, daily hope, peace, forgiveness, passion, purpose, and overcoming power. There is a whole book full of truth to devour, guide you, and stand upon. There are centuries of other believers who have gone before you and many more who will come after you.
Jesus the Lamb, sealed your deal. Easter sealed your deal.The best deal you could ever have.
Happy, happy, Easter, my friend.