10 Easter Reminders
MARCH 24, 2015
Easter is almost here, again! It’s a bit earlier this year than usual and I’m really not ready for it. Which raises the question: how does a Christian get ready for Easter? Only fifteen to twenty years after the resurrection of Jesus, Paul had to remind some Christ followers what Easter was about (not called Easter then), so you know it’s easy for us to downplay its importance: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you…” I Corinthians 15:1. After reading I Corinthians 15 again, I realized that Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, reminds us of so much. For instance, Easter reminds us of:
1. PRIORITIES: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received…” v3. It’s so easy for me to slide away from the big truths of Christianity, the really important truths, and into my own peculiar world of theological interests, spiritual side roads and churchy preferences that keep me from allowing God’s grace to marinate in my soul, prompting worship and openness to people. Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, jolts me out of my individual ghetto and invites me back into the large, open realm where He roams. Easter reminds us of what is really important.
2. GOSPEL: “Now I would remind you…of the gospel” v1. Easter is about the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and is not less than that, but it is more! As Paul reminds the Corinthians, Easter, and Palm Sunday, and Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday before that, all bring Christians back to meditate on Christ’s death, and why He died; His burial, the grave, death; and His resurrection, and how that impacts us receiving the righteousness of Christ (see Romans 4:25). Easter reminds me of the deep and wide Gospel—the whole Gospel.
3. STABILITY: “In which you stand” v1. The world is in chaos and our emotional lives often reflect that chaos. When bad news makes the ground under my feet unsteady, I can stand, firm in God’s promises that are proved reliable by the resurrection. Easter reminds me, us, that God can be trusted no matter what we face in life.
4. SALVATION: “And by which you are being saved” v2. Easter pulls us back to the core of the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ, and reminds us that we will be saved, that we are now being saved, and we will be saved by Christ and His work, and not by our own work. How easy it is to act as though God saved us and now we’re working really hard to keep ourselves saved! No! All is grace, and Easter reminds us even as we fail, that He will never fail us.
5. EVIDENCE: “And that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” v5-7. Christians cannot get through Easter without recounting the litany of the many eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive after seeing Him clearly die. That’s as it should be! Easter, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, provides the evidential and rational basis for trusting our entire present and eternal life to Jesus, the King over death. Easter reminds us that we’re not foolish in following Jesus, and actually, that we would be foolish not to.
6. SCRIPTURES: “In accordance with the Scriptures” v3-4. The resurrection of Jesus was a part of the Triune God’s plan to redeem His people. As we reflect on the prophecies of Easter and their fulfillment, Christians are reminded that we can trust all of the Bible, on every subject, for all time! Easter reminds us that God’s Word never fails.
7. PAST: “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” v8-9. God used Paul’s past, but Paul was not defined by his sordid past any more than we are defined by our past. God’s grace in Christ radically accepts us where we are and transforms us into what surprises even us. Easter reminds us of our past and the new life and freedom that we now have.
8. IMPACT: “But by the grace of God I am what I am” v10-11. When Paul met the resurrected Christ (Acts 9), he was never and could never be the same. Paul was fully immersed in God’s unconditional favor because of Jesus, and his life can only be called extraordinary after that. While our lives might not be as extensively impactful as Paul’s, Easter reminds us that grace raises the dead and stirs the world through them. Grace creates risk takers with nothing to lose and nothing to prove.
9. LOGIC: “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can…” v12-49. Since Jesus was raised from the dead, so will we be raised from the dead! This life in Christ is preparation for an eternity that is bigger and grander than we can ever imagine. The logic of Christ’s resurrection leading to our own opens up for us a whole new future which we are invited to explore. Easter pulls us out of a this only life into an eternal future that kills the despair of “is this all there is?”
10. HOPE: “I tell you this brothers…” v50-58. Jesus’ resurrection is a model for what ours will be like. An instantaneous change, an imperishable body; immortality; the death of death; victory, triumph, not on our own, but in Jesus. Easter reminds us to hope, and pulls us into hope over and over and over again. Soli Deo Gloria