Easter & The Significance of Christ’s Resurrection

Each spring, millions of people around the world acknowledge, in some
fashion or another, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead some
twenty centuries ago. Modern society calls it “Easter.”

The origin of this term is uncertain, though it is commonly thought to
derive from Eastre, the name of a Teutonic spring goddess. The term
“Easter,” in the King James Version of the Bible (Acts 12:4), is a
mistranslation. The Greek word is pascha, correctly rendered
“Passover” in later translations. In fact, though pascha is found
twenty-nine times in the Greek New Testament, it is only rendered
“Easter” once, even in the KJV.

Christians are not authorized to celebrate Easter as a special annual
event acknowledging the resurrection of Christ. Faithful children of
God reflect upon the Savior’s resurrection every Sunday (the
resurrection day – cf. John 20:1ff) as they gather to worship God in
the regular assembly of the church (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians

We ought to be glad, however, that multitudes—usually caught up in
pursuits wholly materialistic—will take at least some time for
reflection upon the event of the Savior’s resurrection. It is entirely
appropriate that Christians take advantage of this circumstance; we
should be both willing and able to explain to our friends—at least
those who have some reverence for Christianity—the significance of the
Lord’s resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the
Christian system (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14ff). If there was no
resurrection, Christianity is a hoax, and we are wasting our time. But
the truth is, the event of Jesus’ resurrection is incontrovertible.
Professor Thomas Arnold of Rugby, a world-renowned historian, once
said that Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the “best-attested
fact in human history” (1939, 2569). This being the case, just what is
the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? Think about these matters.

First, the resurrection is one of the major evidences that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God. Paul affirmed that Christ is “declared to be
the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead”
(Romans 1:4).

Second, Jesus’ resurrection represents an assurance that we can have
forgiveness from our sins. Paul contended: “[I]f Christ hath not been
raised, our faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians
15:17). The reverse of the apostle’s affirmation would be this: if
Jesus was raised, sins will be forgiven when we obey the gospel (Acts
2:38; 22:16).

Third, the resurrection tells the world that the kingdom of God is
ruled by a living sovereign. The founder of Islam is dead and his
bones lie dormant in the earth. But the founder of Christianity—sixty
years after his death—appeared to John on the island of Patmos and
said: “I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was
dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:17-18).

Fourth, Jesus’ resurrection proves that physical death is not the
termination of human existence. God, who is the giver of life (1
Timothy 6:13), has the power to reanimate the human body. Christ’s
triumph over the grave is Heaven’s pledge to us that we too shall be
raised. This is why Jesus is referred to as the “firstfruits of them
that are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20,23).

Fifth, the Lord’s resurrection previewed the ultimate victory of
Christianity over all its enemies. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is
depicted as a lamb that had been slain, but was standing again (5:6).
This same Lord was “the lion of the tribe of Judah” that had overcome
his foes (5:5). Christians too will overcome as a result of the Lamb’s
sacrifice and victory over death (cf. Revelation 12:11).

The resurrection of the Son of God should be a constant reminder to us
of these wonderful biblical truths. We honor our Master’s victory over
death—not once a year, but every week!

- by Wayne Jackson

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