Three Reasons Easter Matters
During the Easter season, Christians traditionally celebrate the great New Testament truth that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. But beyond believing in the fact of the resurrection, it is important to know why it matters.
Below are three reasons why, according to the Bible, the empty tomb is important.
1. The resurrection proves that Jesus is who he claimed to be.
Jesus claimed, both by his words and through his actions, to possess all the authority of God’s messianic Son. He treated God’s house, the temple, as if it were his own home (Mt. 21:12-13). He pronounced the forgiveness of sins as if he himself were the divine Judge (Mk. 2:5-7). He taught the Bible with the kind of authority only the Author of Scripture would possess (Mt. 5:21-22; Mk. 1:22). He claimed that someday everyone in the world would appear before him to answer for their lives (Mt. 25:31-32). He referred to God as his Father and to himself as God’s Son, even saying, “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30). In other words, Jesus claimed to be divine.
It is easy to make claims like these, but how does one prove that they are true?
When asked this question, Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." What did he mean? Scripture says, “He was speaking about the temple of his body.” (See John 2:13-22). The resurrection was the proof that Jesus can back up every claim about himself that he ever made. Romans 1:4 says, “[Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”
2. The resurrection is God’s way of assuring us that our sins are forgiven.
When explaining the resurrection to their peers, the Apostles said, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” They taught that the resurrection gave assurance of forgiveness to all who trust in Jesus.
If I rob a bank and am arrested, I will be locked in prison until I’ve paid my debt to society. How will I know when my debt has been paid? The door to my cell will be opened, and I will walk out. Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins, to pay the moral debt of all who trust him. How do we know our debt has been paid? The door to his tomb was opened, and Jesus walked out.
Romans 4:25 says, “[Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” This means that the empty tomb was God’s way of declaring that he was pleased with the atoning work of his Son. It was God’s way of declaring that our sins are gone.
3. The resurrection is God’s promise that we, too, will be raised.
1 Corinthians 15:20 calls Christ’s resurrection “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [i.e. those who have died]”. “Firstfruits” refers to the initial portion of the crop to appear in the fields. When farmers see firstfruits, they know that there is more harvest to come. In the same way, Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem is a precursor of empty tombs that will someday be found all over the world.
Romans 6 explains that all who trust in Jesus are spiritually united with him. Therefore, in a spiritual sense, when Jesus died, we died with him. The passage goes on to say, “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (v. 5). Likewise, Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
The resurrection of Jesus is a promise from God to all who trust in his Son: you, too, will be raised to eternal life.
The words of an old hymn say:
Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.