Tonight we take a break from our regular pattern to share an Easter message. This is the day we celebrate God raising Jesus from the dead, the day of resurrection. Like many for us the day has had its share of chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, family dinners and time spent at church. Those are all wonderful things, yet they are only a small part of why we rejoice this day.
There are two key reasons the resurrection of Jesus matters. First, if the grave were to still contain Jesus he would have been merely a moral teacher. His resurrection is the evidence for the claims made during his life and ministry. Without resurrection Jesus is not the long awaited Messiah. Second, is that we have new life because of the resurrection. When Jesus conquered sin and death it was not simply to show off, or for his own sake. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus opened the possibility that we too could be made new, that we could experience a new life.
From where we sit, that is reason to celebrate. Because of the resurrection whatever our past holds, it does not hold our future. Because of resurrection we do not have to fear sin and death. Because of resurrection we can choose to live a new life. Because of resurrection, everything has changed.
So today as we celebrate, we also offer an encouragement. We hope and pray that all of us will live the new life of resurrection. That we will live our lives in such a way that the people around us will wonder what happened. Our hope is that we will experience new life in such a way that others will see the love and grace of God at work in our lives. Our hope is that this Easter will be a day of new life. One where we experience the fullness of Jesus, and those around us are drawn into the journey.
May we be people who live a resurrection life. May we be people who live with the understanding that sin and death are conquered. May we live the resurrection in such a way that others can find the same new life in Jesus.
That is why resurrection matters. That is why we celebrate.
He is risen indeed!!!