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This is Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate the arrival of the rabbit who lays eggs.
While that may be somewhat funny, or even sacrilegeous to some, we need to realize that even as Christmas has its imaginative fables and characters, so also does Easter.
There is nothing wrong with those, but let us not forget the real reason those stories came to be.
Easter Sunday is the day Christians celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the focal point of the Christian faith, as Paul writes in our Scripture Lesson today.
And if our hope in Christ is only for this life,
we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
Paul was handling arguments against the resurrection, as there were some who doubted its veracity then—just as there are now those who doubt.
He pointed to the fact of people giving their lives for the resurrection when he made this statement.
Obviously, if there is nothing beyond this life, then our hope and belief is ridiculous.
Many have tried to prove that the Christian claims have no basis.
In the 1700’s there were two young intellectuals who were both lawyers and both rejected the claims of Christ.
One day in a conversation they concluded that Christianity stood on two foundations: the resurrection of Jesus and the conversion of the apostle Paul.
Should these two stories be disproved, the rest of Christianity would fall with them.
One agreed to write a book disproving Jesus’ resurrection and the other agreed to write a book disproving that Paul was converted by hearing a voice from heaven.
No problem, they thought. But when they got together to share their progress reports, they each had to confess that the evidence was winning them over to the other side.
In fact, when it was all over, there were two books: Lord Lyttleton’s The Conversion of St. Paul and Gilbert West’s book, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, arguing that the resurrection is a fact of history.
This is also what happened to Josh McDowell who wrote “Evidence That Demands a Verdict.” He set out to disprove Christianity, but instead became convinced of its reality. His book still ranks in the top 25 all time for Christian books.
Our faith is built upon the fact of the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate today.
As Paul said, if it were only in this life that we had hope, we would be the greatest of fools.
However, because the resurrection is a fact of history, our faith because of it has powerful effects.
The resurrection does impact this life and also our life beyond this physical plane.
The resurrection declares that Christ’s sacrifice was accepted
(Jesus), who was delivered up for our trespasses
and raised for our justification.
Notice how His death and resurrection are linked together. Both were necessary.
His death was caused by us, but His resurrection affects us and is the basis for our justification.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men,
so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
We have spoken before about the fact that His one act of righteousness has the same effect as Adam’s one sin
The effect of Adam’s sin extended to the entire human race.
The effect of Jesus’ one act of righteousness also extends to the entire human race.
The effect of Adam’s sin was not something potential, depending on our choice. We did not choose to be in Adam and to suffer his results.
The effect of Jesus’ one act of righteousness is also not something only potentially waiting for man’s choice.
Right now, though, we want to focus on the word “justification.” What is justification?
the act of God declaring men free from guilt and acceptable to him
Because of Jesus, God has declared us free from the guilt of our sin and made us acceptable in His sight.
If there were no resurrection, being born again would not be possible.
Being born again is a result of the resurrection.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The resurrection makes the new birth possible. Death cannot give life. The cross secured atonement, but it takes a living Savior to apply salvation.
Our new birth is dependent upon the resurrection of Jesus.
Our being made free from the guilt of our sin is dependent upon the resurrection of Jesus.
Our being able to stand freely before the Father is dependent on the resurrection of Jesus.
…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 1Co 15:17
Yes, the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb is a marvelous thing.
It was scary for those who first encountered it.
However, as the word of this miracle spread throughout the land and down through the ages, His resurrection has become the cornerstone of our faith.
And as we mark this event today, it is a cause for great joy among all God’s people.
And that is why we call it a celebration.
Today we celebrate the fact of a risen savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.