Easter is my favorite celebration of the entire year. From the bittersweet sorrow of Good Friday through the amazing joy of Easter Sunday, I am keenly aware of my deep gratitude to God for all that He has done for me. Easter is a time to reflect on just that. It was all for me, and for everyone else who puts their hope and trust in Jesus Christ. How awesome and amazing.
And yet, it seems that the real power of Easter is lost on many in our culture today. We have bunnies and eggs and enough chocolate to decay each and every tooth in our mouths. We have a feeling of new life as spring begins to awaken. We enjoy times of great fellowship with loved ones. But, do we really take the time to reflect on the power of Easter and the resurrection? What does the resurrection really mean for you and for me?
Each of the gospel accounts describes the Easter story from a unique perspective. In focusing in on Luke’s account recorded in the 24th chapter of his gospel (Lk 24:1-12) we find some of the most powerful truths regarding the resurrection’s significance to all of mankind.
We are told that on the first day of the week following Jesus’ crucifixion, the women who were with Jesus during His earthly ministry went to His tomb. However, Jesus’ body was not there! Instead, two heavenly messengers spoke to the women. What they had to tell them was truly amazing. They told them that Jesus is living and is not among the dead (v. 5). He is risen! In fact, this should not be surprising to Jesus’ followers, say the messengers. Jesus Himself told His followers that “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again” (v. 7). Then, the women remembered the words of Jesus.
This quote from Jesus in v. 7 is the key to unlocking so much about Jesus and the power of His resurrection. Here, Jesus refers to Himself as the “Son of Man”. What does the “Son of Man” refer to? Does it point to the humanity of Jesus? Yes, it does. But, it is also points to the deity of Jesus. In fact, the Jewish people of Jesus’ day would have readily understood what Jesus meant by referrring to Himself as the “Son of Man”. The New Testament is literally loaded with passages confirming that Jesus is indeed God (John 1:1, John 8:58, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:3, etc.). Jesus was crucified because it was obvious to the religious leaders that He claimed to be divine (see Luke 22:66-71). Here, Jesus’ referral to Himself as the “Son of Man” hearkens back to the Old Testament book of Daniel (ch. 7 vv. 9-14) where “one like a son of man” approaches the “Ancient of Days” (God the Father). This “Son of Man” has sovereign power, glory, and receives worship. This “Son of Man” is referring to Jesus. Only God can receive worship. Only God can be glorified. Jesus is God. God died for us on the cross. God did this for us.
Jesus was not just a man. He was not just a good teacher. He was not just a wise sage. He claimed to be God, and He backed up this claim with His life, words, and works, including all the miracles He performed. The most amazing miracle was His resurrection from the dead. This could only be accomplished by God alone. Only God has complete power over life and death. So, the resurrection showcased to the entire world that Jesus is God, and that God has power over life and death. Jesus cannot be ignored as merely another great religious leader. He is so much more than that. The resurrection was God’s ultimate confirmation of all that He had been revealing to humankind throughout the entire Bible.
But what does the resurrection mean for you and for me? God died, was buried, and rose on the third day. He has power over life and death. But what about me? What does that have to do with me?
The amazing truth is that God did it all for you and for me. All of us are sinful and willfully rebel against God and His plan for us (Romans 3:23). But God is perfect. A perfect God cannot tolerate sin and rebellion. Therefore, our sin separates us from God and demands punishment and death (Romans 6:23). But Jesus, who was without sin, took on that punishment for us by dying on the cross.
The story doesn’t end there, though! Luke 24:7 ends with Jesus predicting His own resurrection from the dead! Jesus is alive. If Jesus were still dead in the grave we would have no hope. If He were merely a great human who died He would be like every other religious leader to have ever lived. He may have had great insights and great moral understanding, but He would have been powerless and unable to impact my life and destiny. The early church understood this. Paul taught on this in 1 Corinthians 15. In fact, the earliest recorded creed of the early church (written within 3-5 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection) is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
This is the key for you and I. 1 Corinthians 15 emphasizes this. Since Jesus rose again He conquered death. His sacrifice for you and me allows us to conquer death, too! If we believe that Jesus is God, and that He took on our sins by dying on the cross, and that he conquered death by rising from the grave, we too can be alive forever. Death does not have dominion over us, either! Our bodies and souls will be alive forever with God (John 3:15). Let’s make sure we understand this. Let’s make sure we accept this and embrace it with all of our hearts. Let’s make sure we tell everyone what Easter is really all about! It is really all about God who did something amazing for us so that we can live forever with Him!
About David W. Brzezinski:
David Brzezinski is a physician and basic scientist. He is a
faculty member at a medical and dental school in the midwest, is a
licensed pastor, and is an adjunct professor at Moody Theological
Seminary in Plymouth, MI. He is a graduate of Hope College, the
University of Michigan Medical School, and Moody Theological Seminary. He lives near Ann Arbor, MI with his wife Erin and their two children. He is active in the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and
loves Christian Apologetics and Christian Ethics.