Anyone charged with preaching or teaching God’s Word on a consistent basis knows there is not a debate as to what to teach during Easter. Whether it’s a sermon series, Sunday school curriculum or small-group discussion, our attention is always focused on the amazing miracle of Christ rising from the dead.
This, of course, is the bedrock of the Christian gospel. I’m reminded of Lee Strobel, a once-cynical atheist who came to Christ after investigating the historical claims of the resurrection. He argues in his book, “The Case for Christ,” that believing Jesus both died on the cross and rose from the grave is the capstone which holds all of our other beliefs together.
I’m afraid, however, that we forget to preach and teach people about the second resurrection of Easter. It is one that is equally important, yet would be impossible were it not for Jesus’ exit from the tomb. People must be taught and reminded that the second resurrection of Easter is none other than their own.
Paul never failed to connect the two. To the believers in Rome, he wrote:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:5-11, ESV).
Singing songs, hosting pageants, and delivering powerful sermons about that moment in history when the stone was rolled away, a tomb was vacant, and a man with nail-scarred hands appeared is incomplete if we leave it in the annals of history. Many world religions hold equally impressive stories of miraculous proportion. We would quickly identify these tales as myths, made up by men.
To a lost and dying world, however, our Lord’s resurrection account is no different if we don’t help people connect the dots between His victory over death and their own. If you read Paul’s words again, it is clear that he sees our resurrection in the garden tomb that day. Likewise, he takes it even further. We are to see ourselves in Christ the same way we view Christ at Easter: alive, victorious, and destined for eternal life that death cannot touch.
No one should ever shy away from holding the resurrection of Christ high on Easter. We ought to explain what happened when God conquered death, hell, and the grave. But let’s not leave it in the past. Easter happens every day that a believer walks in the newness of a resurrected life. Easter happens every day when a spiritually dead man, woman or child is delivered into new life through the gracious work of God in salvation.
Seeing lives resurrected today sets our faith’s greatest miracle apart from a world of man-made tales. Tell the people in your life about both resurrections — His and yours — and you may be able to witness theirs.