Today is Easter Sunday, the high point of the Christian calendar, the moment when light bursts forth from the empty tomb and we see that not even death could defeat our Saviour. Easter Sunday is the day when God’s plan of salvation is revealed more fully to people, when the suffering of Good Friday and the sorrow of Easter Saturday are dispelled, and hope is born again in the hearts of mankind. Those two disciples on the road to Emmaus who spoke with a stranger about their dashed hopes and whose faces were downcast (Luke 24:17) are transformed into believers; the day is changed from one of confusion and duty (hiding away in fear of the Romans, wondering how to sort out a dead body when there was a massive stone in front of the tomb) to a day of radiant light as Jesus appears to His followers and they begin to absorb the life-changing truth that ‘He is not here; he has risen!’ (Luke 24:6) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the event which separates Christianity from all other religions whose leaders have died and remain dead, but Jesus tasted death for us (Heb 2:9) and yet is alive forevermore. As Jesus said to John on the island of Patmos, ‘I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!’ (Revelation 1:18) As the song says,
‘The prodigal is welcomed home;
The sinner now a saint,
For the God who died came back to life
And everything is changed.’ (‘Christ Is Risen’, Phil Wickham)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals to us once and for all God’s power. That power is described by Paul as ‘mighty strength’ (Eph 1:19), but what is so amazing about this power is that this same power now lives in us. Paul prays that the Ephesians may know ‘his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.’ (Eph 1:19-21) Paul talks of us being strengthened with power through God’s Spirit (Eph 3:16) and says that God ‘is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.’ (Eph 3:20) The resurrection is not simply a historical event to be noted, but a powerful truth to be lived out daily.