As a child, I remember Christmas being my favorite holiday, with Easter coming in as a close second. I loved going shopping to get a new fancy dress and shoes for the special occasion, and wearing white gloves and carrying a purse that made me feel ‘grown-up’ and signified it was no ordinary day we were celebrating. Of course, I also loved getting a bright, multi-colored basket to fill with chocolates and other candies, our family’s annual egg hunt, and gathering with my grandparents and cousins along with the rest of my family for a delicious meal.
As I have grown older and matured in my faith, I can say that ‘Resurrection Day’ is definitely my favorite celebration of the year. And the reason for my rejoicing has nothing to do with the finery I may wear or anything I may get, or even the gathering together with loved ones, but everything to do with the One Who gave His all so that I might be clothed in His righteousness rather than in my ‘filthy rags’, and therefore able to experience the fellowship I was created to enjoy and now have with my Heavenly Father. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 64:6)
We have hanging in our home a plaque that my husband gave to me that has the date of our wedding anniversary, and underneath that the dates of the births of our four children. At the bottom of the plaque it states, “What A Difference a Day Makes”. Indeed, our lives were forever changed due to what took place on those special dates, and I’m sure that whether you’re married and have children or not, there are dates you can look at in your own life that forever impacted the trajectory of your life.
I would testify, however, that no date has impacted my life or yours—if you’re a believer in Christ— more than the day we commonly refer to as Easter Sunday, or, what I prefer to call ‘Resurrection Day’.
Have you ever stopped to consider the multitude of ways in which your life—if you have put your faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross on your behalf— was impacted by His death and resurrection? If Jesus had not died and hadn’t risen from the grave, our lives would be totally different than they are today. You and I would still be condemned to death, for the bible makes it clear that ‘we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God’, and the ‘the wages of sin is death’. (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23) The forgiveness of our sin required a perfect blood sacrifice, which Jesus, the Perfect ‘Lamb of God’, was for us. He offered up His life so that all who would put their faith in His death and resurrection could be forgiven of their sin, could have the power to overcome sin, and could receive the gift of eternal life.
For me, and for all who have received Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their life, His death and resurrection means…
- Being forgiven of sin and set free from condemnation
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 ESV
- No longer being a slave to sin, but set free to live a righteous life
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace…. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:14; 17-18 ESV
- Being a new creation in Christ
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
- Dead to self will and selfish ambition and alive in Christ Who lives in me through faith in Him
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV
- Being given the gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in me, guides me, instructs me in all truth, and empowers me to do His will
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14: 16-17 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 14:16-17 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 ESV
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 ESV
- Total freedom in Christ
…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 ESV (Jesus is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’; John 14:6);
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free…Galatians 5:1a ESV
- Release from fear
Jesus demonstrated His perfect love by sacrificing His life, and all who know Him can know the surpassing greatness of His love which is able to cast out all fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
- Release from the greatest fear of all: the fear of death
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. John 11:25-26a ESV
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54b-56 ESV
- Assurance of peace, joy, and strength no matter our circumstances
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV
- The sure promise of eternal life
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’”John 3:16-17 ESV
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV
You may be thinking, all of this sounds too good to be true! You also may be wondering, “How can I know for sure that Jesus died and rose again?” Did you know that His death and resurrection was taken as a fact by over 500 eye-witnesses who saw Him following His resurrection?
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV
Significantly, eleven of Jesus’ disciples suffered excruciating deaths and one, John, was tortured and exiled, due to their unwavering belief in and faithful testimony regarding the death and resurrection of Christ. The apostle Paul who wrote the above scripture—and much of the New Testament— also died for his belief in Christ’s resurrection. Would you be willing to die a horrific death if you knew what you professed to be true was really a lie?
You may not be aware that since the time of Christ’s life on earth there have been at least an estimated 70 million people who have also died for their faith in Jesus and their belief in His atoning death and resurrection; the majority of those being put to death in the last 200 years. Can you fathom that many people being willing to die for a lie? Would you not think they would only be willing to die for something they knew to be true? To me, their martyrdom is additional proof of the reality that Jesus is alive! Those people who died for their faith—and the countless ones who’ve been imprisoned and suffered in other ways— were unwilling to deny the reality that Jesus is alive, even though it meant pain and suffering and even death, because they were certain Jesus was alive because they had an encounter with the Living Jesus. He had transformed their lives through their faith in Him; they had gone from being ‘slaves to sin’ to being ‘slaves to righteousness’ through the power of His Spirit at work in their lives. (Romans 6:17-18)
I am also one who can attest that my life has been radically transformed by the power of the love of Christ that has set me free from my bondage to sin and has given me a new and joy-filled life through Him. If you doubt the reality of Jesus and His death and resurrection, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to give you the faith to believe in Him. He promises if you seek Him with all of your heart, He will be found by you. He invites you to draw near to Him, and He assures you that He will then draw near to you. (Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8) And in knowing Him and putting your trust in Him, you will discover a new, glorious life!
Resurrection Day is all about celebrating that we who once were dead in our sin and deserving of death can now through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection be made alive, whole, and able to enjoy fellowship with our Living God— the God of all Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love! Indeed, what a difference that day has made in the life of all of humanity throughout history who have chosen to put their faith in Him! May you have a glorious Resurrection Day celebration knowing you can face all of your tomorrows on earth because Jesus is alive, is with you, and will never leave you—and He has also given you the sure promise of a future with Him for all eternity in Heaven!
For further study regarding what Jesus’ death and resurrection obtained for you, I encourage you to read Romans, chapters 5-8