It’s been over a week since we celebrated Easter, and the Easter articles, quotes, and sentiments have disappeared from my news feed. I totally understand. Like other special occasions, Easter is a day we observe before moving on to the next event on the calendar.
I purposely waited until after Easter to write about it because I wanted to reflect on the ongoing ramifications of the resurrection story that I’m prone to overlook.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul detailed the significance of the resurrection, making bold claims like if Christ hasn’t been raised, our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). Or as Michael Horton put it, “There is no consolation prize for believers if Jesus Christ is not the risen Lord.” Paul went on to explain that Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee of ours, and he even argued the opposite point noting that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we won’t be raised to life, therefore our choices today have no significance. If that’s the case, Paul stated, then we should just eat, drink, and be merry (15:32).
The entirety of the Christian faith stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus, which means the importance of Easter can’t be confined to a single season, let alone one day a year. There’s no way to exaggerate the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Paul wasn’t the only New Testament writer to comment on the importance of the resurrection. The Apostle Peter’s life was never quite the same after he encountered the resurrected Savior, and he reflected on that life-altering event when he wrote that God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
According to Peter, hopelessness died when Jesus rose from the dead. Because our Redeemer lives, we don’t have to face a day on earth without hope. Like Paul Tripp said, “The victory of Jesus’ empty tomb is an historical validation of the reliability of every promise God has ever made to His children.” We can trust Him to keep His Word and be true to His character.
It was in light of this reality that the Apostle Paul reminded his audience that their labor in the Lord was not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). Paul’s point was that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead changes everything – all of life is now filtered through the confirmed reality that we serve a promise-keeping God and follow a death-defeating Savior.
Because Jesus is alive, how we do our jobs on a Tuesday morning in April matters. The way we treat difficult people matters. How we serve our spouses and children and friends matters. How we respond to tragedy matters. Our efforts to meet others’ needs matters. If our faith is not in vain, then the works produced by that faith are not pointless either.
Although we formally celebrate Easter once a year, we would be remiss to believe it’s only worth recognizing on occasion. If Christ has not been raised from the dead – to borrow the Apostle Paul’s vocabulary – then we would have nothing to celebrate on Easter and no reason to gather any other Sunday. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead”, and the events of that one day in history shape what we believe and how we live every day that follows (15:20).