This week, all around the world, billions of people are celebrating Easter. It is the most celebrated event in history. We date our calendar by it. Every time you write a date, what is the reference point? The life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of history is divided into A.D. and B.C. by this single event. What’s the big deal? Why is it so important? What difference does it make?
The Bible says in the New Testament, “If Christ has not been raised from death then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe. If Christ has not been raised then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14 & 17). This means that the resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead we have nothing to believe, there is nothing to preach, all the martyrs have died in vain, all the money spent on building churches has been wasted, anything called Christianity is a waste of time. We might as well close up shop and go to the beach. There is no reason for any of us to celebrate Easter if it didn’t really happen.
But what difference does it make? Big deal! So He did rise from the dead. So Christ is alive. What difference does it make? For just a few minutes, lets suppose that there is something to this Jesus who has been on the cover of every major magazine and the feature of every news show over the years. Let’s suppose that just maybe there is a legitimate reason that a movie about his last 12 hours before His crucifixion has become one of the all-time blockbusters. What does it mean for you and me, what difference does it make, if Jesus Christ is alive and the resurrection story of Easter is authentic? There are three ways it makes a difference in my life.
- BECAUSE JESUS IS ALIVE, HIS PURPOSE IS STILL UNCHANGEABLE. Jesus Christ is still in the same business He’s been in for 2000 years. What is His business? “Jesus said, `I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly'” (John 10:10). A lot of people think the Jesus said, “I have come so that you might have religion and that it might make you miserable” or “I have come to dump a bunch of rules and regulations on you and make it so that you don’t have any fun.” A lot of people think being a Christ-follower is filled with a bunch of “don’ts.” Don’t do this, don’t do that. If all being a Christian means is that you don’t do anything, anybody who’s dead would qualify as a Christian. They don’t do anything.
The truth is, Jesus is in the life business. Most people are not living. They’re just existing. They’re on a treadmill: Get up in the morning, go to work, watch TV, go to bed, get up in the morning, go to work, watch TV, go to bed…go to the beach on the weekends. They think they’re living! They’re not living, but just existing. Jesus said, “I came to give you life” because you’re not living unless you know God in your life and understand that He made you for a purpose. I meet people who are always getting ready to live. “One of these days I’m going to start living! … One of these days I’m really going to start enjoying life.” Oscar Wilde said, “The rarest thing in the world is to find somebody who’s really alive.”
Jesus said, “I came that you might have life.” The word “life” is used over 200 times in the New Testament. Jesus said, “I’ve come that you might have life” – life to the fullest. And He’s not talking about overeating. He’s talking about life that is meaningful, life that’s full.
- BECAUSE JESUS IS ALIVE, HIS POWER IS AVAILABLE. Have you noticed how many best sellers deal with power — how to get it, how to use it, how to keep it. We learn everything about power — to dress for power, to eat for power, to shower for power. The power lunch. The power nap. Everybody’s looking for power.
Jesus says, My power is available. Ephesians 1:20 in Bible says, “I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him – the same mighty power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” The Bible says the same power that caused the resurrection 2000 years ago is available to you. He holds the key to life and power. That’s good news!
What do I need power for? Did you ever feel powerless to change a situation? Did you ever feel powerless to change a relationship? Did you ever feel powerless to change yourself? Did you ever feel powerless to change a bad habit? Did you ever have a personal energy crisis? Did you ever need power to start over again after a failure? Nothing is beyond God’s power. God gives us starting power. He gives me the power to get my act in order and to make something of myself, but He also gives me staying power to hang in there and to keep on doing what I know I ought to be doing in the first place
What difference does the resurrection makes? It makes a big difference. It means that Jesus is still in the life changing business. And that’s His purpose. And it means His power is still available – the same power that blasted the tomb wide open and brought Jesus back to life, that caused history to be divided into A.D. and B.C. and, it’s available to you and to me.
- BECAUSE JESUS IS ALIVE, HIS PROMISES ARE STILL RELIABLE. When you read through the New Testament, you realize that Jesus made a lot of incredible promises. A lot of amazing things. Like “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” That’s pretty much a blank check. A lot of promises. If Jesus were dead then obviously He couldn’t keep any of them. But because Jesus Christ is alive today, His promises are still reliable.
The Bible says this about Jesus, “He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises no matter how many of them there are” (2 Corinthians 1:20). That’s a full time job. There are over 7000 promises in the Bible. But don’t forget, a promise is only as good as the dependability of the person who made it. If God makes a promise to you, you can count on it. You can bet your life on it. His promises are still reliable. 1 Peter 1:3 in the Bible says “We have been born again into a life full of hope through Christ rising again from the dead.” You’ve got to have hope in life. It is absolutely essential. You cannot cope without hope.
What are you putting your hope in? A new president? Dr. Oz? Dr. Phil? The stock market? Name your source of hope. Is it reliable? Is it faultless? I submit to you that there’s only one thing that’s absolutely, totally, irrevocably completely reliable – the promises of God. Because Jesus Christ is alive today, if He said it, it will happen. You can count on it.
Let me return to my original question that I started with. What difference does it make that Jesus Christ rose from the dead 2000 years ago? The answer is absolutely nothing unless you take advantage of the benefits of it and establish a relationship with Him because He is alive today. Otherwise it doesn’t mean anything. I am not talking about becoming religious. I’m talking about a relationship. You may be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Baptist, Buddhist, Mormon, Hindu or nothing. I’m not talking about a religion. Religion is man’s attempt to get to God. Jesus Christ is God’s attempt to get to man. Jesus didn’t come to give you a religion. He said, “I came to give you life. I want to have a relationship with you. I want to know you everyday.”
A Christian is not somebody who goes to church. Sitting in a church will make you a Christian about as much as sitting in a chicken house will make you a chicken. Attending a church doesn’t make you any more a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car. Being an American doesn’t make you a Christian. Joining a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than joining the Lion’s Club makes you a lion.
A Christian is somebody who says, “Jesus is Lord. He’s number one, boss, manager, CEO, executive in my life. He calls the shots in my life and I believe that Jesus is Lord and He’s alive today. He’s still around.” That’s what it means to be a Christian. Jesus says, “because I’m alive, I’m standing at the door of your life knocking. If you open the door, I’ll come in.” It’s that simple. Jesus made it so simple nobody could say it was too hard to understand. He said just trust Me. Even a little child could understand that. We complicate it and make it so hard. You can talk to Him at any time and say something as simple as “God, I realize that I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I ask You to forgive me. Jesus Christ, I believe You are alive today. I don’t understand it all but as much as I know how I ask You to come into my life. I want to believe in You. I want You to be number one in my life. I need Your power. I need Your promises and I need Your purpose for my life.” Saying that simple prayer will make this Easter the best one you could ever imagine and it definitely will make a difference in your life.
QUESTION: I would love to know if you have ever prayed this (or similar) prayer and have trusted your life to the resurrected Lord? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks!