Why care about Easter? What importance can there be in isolated event from over 2000 years ago? Billions of people have been born and died since then, thousands of important leaders have entered and exited the world stage, and we have seen the rise and fall of many global empires. Compared to these events, what does one event on one day matter?
Sometimes a single event on one day changes the course of history. Archduke Ferdinand was unknown to a majority of the world on the day he was assassinated in 1914 but his death triggered a chain of events that resulted in the deaths of 37 million people in World War 1. Alexander Fleming was a brilliant researcher with an untidy lab. One day in 1928 he returned from vacation to discover that a fungus has grown in one of his Staph cultures, inhibiting the growth of the bacteria. Penicillin was discovered and medicine changed forever, one event on one day.
Jesus of Nazareth was an itinerant preacher in the land of Israel. His public ministry lasted only three years. Dramatic miracles led to a following that was initially large numbers dropped significantly when His teaching became more challenging. He still commanded enough of a following to be considered a threat by the Jewish leaders who feared He might lead a revolt against Rome. Determined to end the threat they had Jesus arrested, tried, convicted and executed in less than 24 hours. When He was placed in a borrowed tomb late one Friday He was, to all appearances, just another failed rebel, a philosopher rabbi whose words would likely fade over time.
Then Easter Sunday came. The tomb was empty and He was seen alive by many who had followed Him. A new religious movement arose based on the story of Jesus' resurrection. Reports of His resurrection could have been easily disproven if false, simply producing His body would have put an end to such claims. But no body was forthcoming and not a one of His followers retracted their story. Many even died for it. All of the evidence pointed in the same direction. Jesus of Nazareth had come back to life.
His resurrection did not just bring back His body from the grave. It did far more. It brought credibility to his teaching and affirmed His remarkable claims of divinity. The Apostle Paul summed up the meaning of Easter, writing that Jesus. “through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:4
One event on one day 2000 years ago changed the world. By His resurrection Jesus proved that He was not just a rebel, not just a prophet, not just a teacher and not just a man. He was, and is, much more. He is the Son of God and as such must be dealt with.
The question the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate asked on the night Jesus was crucified is one that we all must ask ourselves, “What shall I do with Jesus?”
Easter demands an answer.