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April 2018 - The Most Important Holiday

The Most Important Holiday

We take a pause in our series of articles based on Pastor Fisk’s book “Broken” to consider the importance of Easter, or more precisely the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If folks are asked what is the most important Christian holiday, most would probably pick Christmas.  I would imagine that the receiving of gifts might help drive that opinion.  But Easter is by far the most important Christian festival.  The Resurrection of our Lord, His physical rising from the dead on the third day after His death and burial is THE critical historical fact and teaching of our faith.  That is one of the reasons why the Resurrection of Jesus is so often attacked by the enemies and critics of true, biblical Christianity.  (Of course one of the key motivations to such attacks is because if they were to acknowledge the historicity and truth of Jesus’ resurrection, it would also point out the Need for Jesus’ death and resurrection, thus pointing out Their need – their sinful condition.)  I say “true, biblical Christianity” because sadly there are many who identify themselves as Christian who deny this most basic tenet of the faith – even so called experts.

            A few years ago I had the joy of watching the silly “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” special on the Discovery Channel.  I almost found it humorous, in a sad and tragic way.  Almost.  But I couldn’t get past the opening comments of one of their theological “experts”. He boldly proclaimed that even if they had truly found the tomb and remains of Jesus, that it wouldn’t hurt his faith at all.  Implied was the thought that he never believed in the resurrection of Christ in the first place – that it wasn’t an essential part of his brand of Christianity.  In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is not essential to Christianity.   

            “Wouldn’t hurt his faith?!?”  Not essential?  You’ve got to be kidding.  I will let Paul answer this foolish assertion:  1Co 15:14-19 ESV  (14)  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  (15)  We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.  (16)  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  (17)  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  (18)  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  (19)  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

            If Christ has not been raised, our preaching, our faith is useless, for we would still be in our sins, guilty before God and without hope for life and salvation!  If Christ had remained in the grave, it would prove that God had not accepted the payment Christ offered for our sins with His own blood.  That would mean that we are still lost in our sin, without hope, and without life! 

            That it is how it seemed on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  The grave of Christ, with the body of God the Son wrapped in burial clothes, looked permanently sealed with a two-ton stone, an official Roman seal, and a post of Roman guards.  Death certainly seemed final and complete, as if none would be able to escape its cold claws -- just like our own tombs and graves can seem so final. 

But as the eyewitness testimony recorded in the Gospels tells us: Jesus Christ HAS RISEN, Alleluia!  And because Christ bodily rose from the dead, the first fruits of the resurrection, then we know that our sin has been paid for and that we have new Life in Christ and that we shall live bodily forever in eternal bliss and joy.  Death has now been transformed for us into a freeing doorway that no longer holds any lasting threat for us.  Indeed, in your baptism, you have been clearly told in the scriptures that you have not only already been killed and buried with Christ, but that you have already been raised up to a new life with Him just as surely as He Himself has been raised!  Redeemed and Raised Saints of God, Jesus lives and so now do you!  



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