In sports broadcasting, almost every event is followed by post-game analysis. Commentators spend hours reviewing significant plays and turning points in the game. This week, I would ask your indulgence in a little post-Easter reflection.
Easter is, without a doubt, the most significant day on the Christian calendar. The largest crowds of the year are usually on this particular Sunday. Church members who are unwilling to attend or careless in attendance the rest of the year will go to church on Easter. Husbands and dads who would not normally darken the doors are willing to give one day a year to make wives and children happy.
For committed followers of Christ, this past Sunday was more than a special day on the calendar—it represents a celebration of the center of our spiritual universe. If the story of Easter is not valid, then our faith is not valid. Our message is incomplete without the exclamation point of the resurrection of Christ. No, our message is empty. A martyr’s death has power to inspire, but it does not have the power to save.
It is interesting that the government-approved church in the largest country in East Asia can preach the Bible except for the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. The atheistic government understands that the Gospel is empty and incomplete without the Easter message.
But what if last Sunday had been devoid of the resurrection truth? Would there have been a reason to meet? I fear that we handle holy truth so much we may miss its significance. Christianity is an Easter religion. Paul was very clear—no resurrection, no faith—at all!
As you reflect on the joy of last Sunday and the powerful truth your pastor declared, let this glorious message sink deep in your soul. Jesus has conquered death. Because He lives, we will live also throughout eternity. But greater still we will not just live, but we will experience eternity in Heaven with all its glory.
But there is more! Our celebration last Sunday was an affirmation that the Savior will return as the Lord of Lords. He will place His enemies as a footstool under His feet. The evil of this world will crash and burn into the lake of fire. The crucified Lamb will return as the conquering King of Kings.
I believe the crowds gather on Easter because deep inside there is a longing for the resurrection message to be true. Those who nonchalantly enter the worship center to satisfy the nagging of others or who decide to give God one day a year endure the worship, but deep inside, I believe they hope the story is true.
The message cannot be handled casually. There is a truth that demands response. I fear “church members” who pay their dues on Easter have a deep misunderstanding of the Easter reality. Christ did not die and rise on the third day for casual belief or acceptance. He died to bring radical change in the lives of all who would embrace the resurrection message through repentance and faith. Christ has no interest in indifferent church membership or faith. He demands a commitment that requires death to self and resurrection to new life.
My friends in East Asia choose to meet in small gatherings in out of the way places to celebrate the Easter story each week. They understand a faith without Easter and the second coming of the resurrected Lord is no faith at all. They are right.
In my post-game review of last Sunday, I find great joy in knowing that across this great state, our Baptist churches met to worship and declare the powerful resurrection story. It was a great day! Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
(Editor’s note: This column originally ran on April 4, 2012)