The Significance of Easter Sunday
While the realities of Good Friday and the atonement accomplished that day are precious Christian truths, as the Apostle Paul would later argue, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). In other words, without the resurrection our Gospel proclamation is powerless and our faith is pointless (1 Cor 15:14). The validity of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, the propitiation of our sin, is entirely contingent on Christ’s resurrection. Paul says in Romans 4:25, Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses (Good Friday) and raised for our justification (Easter).” Easter is the vindication and validation of the horror of Good Friday.
The implications of this are massive, especially within the context of the COVID-19 crisis. This virus has demonstrated humanity’s mortality. People are afraid. Drastic measures have been taken to preserve life, but death still comes. Death is the unifier and equalizer of humanity! If Christ has not risen from the dead, the Christian faith and hope for life after death is foolishness. If Christ has not risen from the dead, Christians should be among the masses panicking over the pandemic.
But, there was a resurrection! And it is because of that resurrection that we have hope not only in this life, but also in the life to come. Christ has “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim 1:10). Jesus is the first-fruits (Lev 23:10; 1 Cor 15:20). Biblically, there is an inextricable connection between the bodily resurrection of Christ and the believer’s future bodily resurrection. Because Jesus is the first-fruits, His resurrection is representative of the future destiny of all who trust in Him (1 Cor 15:23). This is particularly significant in our current situation. There are no promises that Christians will be supernaturally shielded from the impact of the coronavirus. Sin and death have tainted all of our human experiences. The resurrection’s final victory over death will be realized when Christ returns for all who are in Him. Death will be swallowed up in victory, the perishable will put on imperishable and the mortal will put on immortality (1 Cor 15:54-56).
A Final Easter Exhortation
Ultimately COVID-19 is a result of human rebellion and the consequences of Adam’s sin. When the news headlines this weekend highlight the thousands of deaths and the tragedies that are being experienced by so many, remember that God is shouting through the storm. It will not always be this way! The cross and the resurrection are the climactic moments in history and function as the pillars of our peace and our compass to navigate this crisis. The accomplishment of Jesus on Good Friday and Easter Sunday secures for us residency in the New Creation when He will rule over all the created order in glorious wholeness and holiness (1 Cor 15:20-26). Today we anticipate with certainty that day when sin will be no more and fear and uncertainty will be removed with the coming of Christ. In the meantime, let the realities of Good Friday and Easter Sunday motivate you to endure and persevere in faithful obedience in this present age. Be encouraged, the same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead has also “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6).
This is the second part of our Easter series written by Craig McClure. If you’d like to read the first part, you can find it here.
Craig is originally from Hiawassee, GA. God’s calling on his life led Craig to earn a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Piedmont College and a master’s degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Craig is SCORE International’s national director of discipleship and church planting in the Dominican Republic. He is also an adjunct professor at the Seminario Teológico Bautista Dominicano an affiliate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as a minor league baseball chaplain through the ministry of Baseball Chapel. If you’d like to learn more about the ministry he and his family do in the Dominican Republic, you can visit our website.