by Rev. James Wong
Easter is the focal point of the Christian faith. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. On Easter Day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith and without it there will be no Christian faith. The New Testament was written after the reality of the resurrection of Christ. This is how Paul describes the importance of Christ’s resurrection: “And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless … and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-19 (NLT).
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus told his disciples three times concerning his suffering, death and resurrection (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). The resurrection must be understood in terms of the accomplishment of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. What did Christ’s death on the cross accomplish for us?
1. Christ died for our sins that we may receive forgiveness. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 (NIV). Jesus died for the sins of others; the righteous for the unrighteous, the sinless for the sinful. And the blood Christ shed on the cross purifies us from all sins. (see 1 John 1:7).
2. Christ died to demonstrate God’s love for us. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8 (NIV). The suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross is to show us the extent of God’s love for mankind. The most well known verse in the Bible says this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16-17 (NIV).
3. Christ died to reconcile us to God. “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Rom 5:10-11 (NIV). Being reconciled to God we become children of God and we address God as our heavenly father.
4. The resurrection of Christ confirms it all. In Christ’s death we find forgiveness, salvation and hope of eternal life. How do we know all these are true? The resurrection of Jesus is the evidence. “… everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.” 1 Cor 15:22-23 (NLT). Christ’s resurrection proves that he conquered death and he is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. There is eternal life beyond the grave. Therefore death died on Easter Day.