I like Easter more than Christmas! Both are special and essential, and while the birth of Jesus is certainly significant, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the foundation of our faith as Christians. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." But the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for believers.
Currently, I am re-reading The Valley of Vision, a collection of prayers and meditations by the Puritans. Recently I read a chapter, "The Spirit's Work," where the author wrote, "Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds, the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan; May I there see my sins as the nails that transfixed him, the cords that bound him, the thorns that tore him, the sword that pierced him."
My mind began to think of two words "for me." The suffering, mockery, and ridicule that Jesus suffered were for me. The loneliness like no one has ever experienced was for me. His pain and suffering from the spear thrust into His side, the pummeling He endured from the hands of His executioners, and the crown of thorns pressed onto His head were all for me. The scourging that nearly took His life was for me. When He breathed His last painful breath on the cross and died, it was for me. "God made Him who knew no sin to become sin on my behalf that I might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
He died for me so I could live forever with Him and for Him. The resurrection proved that God the father had accepted forever the sacrifice of Jesus for sin. His birth, His life, and even His death on the cross awaited the confirmation given by the resurrection. It proved that Jesus is who He says He is and that He accomplished what He came to do. For all of us who truly believe, the result is forgiveness, acceptance, and purpose.
Ronnie Hinson and Mike Payne wrote a song that reflects the personal nature of what Jesus did for those of us who believe, "When He was on the cross, I was on His mind." The late E.V. Hill once commented on the power of the resurrection in a sermon. "That first Easter is so far away," he said, "but I am here with the proof." The reality of the resurrection is alive in those who are alive in the risen Savior. The resurrection can stand alone on its own merits, but the personal joy that comes from the new birth is indescribable.
The resurrection is personal, but it is not simply about you and me. It is about God's glory. Our call is to glorify him in whatever we do. There is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner comes to Christ. He is the resurrection and the life and we are blessed through saving faith in Him.
I hope you will take time to meditate on what Christ did on the cross; why He did it; and for whom He did it. Think about it personally with gratitude and praise-it was for me.
Have a blessed Resurrection Day celebration.
James Rudy Gray is certified as a professional counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors, and is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He serves as the editor of The Baptist Courier, the official newspaper of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.