Christians all over the world gathered last Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the most nominal follower of Christ is motivated to attend church on Easter Sunday. Deep within the heart of all believers is the truth that Easter not only matters—it matters above everything else. No resurrection—no Christianity. No Easter—no hope!

Like any pastor, I have faced some dark moments with families—moments that would have ripped my heart out if the resurrection of Jesus was not a reality.

My first funeral was for a faithful leader in the church who committed suicide. I was 20 years old and had been a pastor only a few months. Polla and I walked with fear and trembling into the home of that widow and her little boy. We had nothing to say on our own. Later, when I stood to preach the message, my words were based on the hope of Jesus. There was nothing else to say. The resurrection does matter.

My heart was crushed when I was called to the home of a young family whose little girl had just died. I watched as the dad carried the lifeless body of his little preschooler to the waiting funeral car. Is there any comfort at a time like this? Is there any hope? Yes, indeed—hope beyond hope because our Savior lives.

Just last week, a staff member at my home church lost a beautiful daughter in a tragic car accident. My pastor stated that as he stood on the porch waiting for the door to open he wondered what he could say in the midst of such traumatic circumstances. His answer came when the father pointed to the family’s faith in the resurrected Lord and their daughter’s living faith in Christ. Yes, it does matter that Jesus arose from the grave.

I, like many of you, have stood by the casket of a loved one. Lifeless and sobering was the view as I gazed upon the body of my loved one. Death stared back at me. If that were all there is to life and eternity, the hour of death would be unbearable. But it is not. What we celebrated last Sunday is reality. The resurrection of Christ is a certainty. I can bear these moments because hope is alive in the face of death.

Tombstones are usually inscribed with the date of birth, followed by a hyphen and then the date of death. Some believe the hyphen is the most important part. It marks our days on Earth, so the hyphen is certainly significant. But I hope some day when my name is placed on a tombstone there will be an exclamation point after the date of death. Why? Because I will have just begun real living!

Oh, yes, our celebration last Sunday mattered. It does matter that Jesus lived, died and rose from the grave. Because He lives, I will live also. Now that really matters!

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