On March 27th the strains of “Alleluia” will fill the air of churches around the world as Christians celebrate the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The message “He is risen” will sound forth in sermons, songs, scripture readings, and Easter greetings. The celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead is one of the major celebrations of the Christian faith. A question we do well to ponder arising out of the Easter event is, “What is the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for us?”
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has existential and eschatological meaning for us. What does it mean to say that Christ’s death and resurrection has existential meaning for us? Simply, this means that Christ’s death and resurrection has meaning for every facet of our life, here and now. This event, when appropriated by faith, changes who we are and how we live. In Romans (Chapter 6) we are told that in our baptism we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In baptism we die to sin, and just as Christ has been raised from the dead, we too are raised to a new life. In baptism the old self is put to death and God makes us into a new creation. By dying to sin and rising to the new life in our baptism, we live a new life of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Our baptism means that we live the new life in Christ Jesus.
Second, Christ’s death and resurrection has eschatological meaning for us. This means that in Christ’s death and resurrection God has destroyed the power of death. Death, while it is inevitable, it does not have the final word in our life. In Christ’s death and resurrection God has opened the way to eternal life. In the Easter event God gives us the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. For just as Christ has been raised from death so we too shall be raised in the resurrection on the Last Day. This is what God accomplished for us in Christ’s death and resurrection.
As we celebrate Easter let us be reminded that we celebrate more than just a festival or an anniversary of a historical event. At Easter we are really celebrating God’s victory over death and the grave. We also celebrate God’s gift of new life in the here and now, and His gift of eternal life beyond this life. So let us celebrate Easter with joy and hope.
He is risen….!