Matthew 28:1-8 NKJV “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.”
As this resurrection day begins to come to a close, we should not be so quick to move on from reflection. On Good Friday I shared a quote from Martin Luther about how we need to hear the gospel every day because we forget it. It’s so easy after salvation to see the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as simple common knowledge. Add to that the secularization of the holiday through the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, and all things chocolate, the real meaning of the holiday can get swept away, even for those of us who call ourselves Christians.
I am reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2 in the Amplified Classic Bible. “For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” But this past Sunday, I questioned if those words were true for us at Easter. My dad and I were driving, and we heard an advertisement for a church that said and I quote, “this will be bigger than the resurrection itself.” We just turned and looked at each other and I said, are they serious?! I know we want to bring people in, but do we not see a problem with saying the church’s comedy play will be bigger than the resurrection itself?! That is a blasphemous statement.
I know some might say, they are just trying to hook people and bring them in. The issue is, how we hook people matters. Jesus said, “if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.” We need to ask ourselves what is truly taking center stage, is it Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or is it egg hunts, chocolate, and big giveaways?
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but it is also foolishness to those who are perishing. If we let the gospel speak for itself, Jesus will draw people unto Himself. No matter what hooks we use; giving away a flat screen TV, a one thousand egg Easter egg hunt, or anything else will not bring about a conversion. It might cause interest in your church, but more than likely if someone is an Easter only attendee, unless they are saved through the presentation of the gospel, they won’t be back. I encourage you to reflect on the power of the gospel message tonight. Let it encourage you as a believer to be a witness to those around you, not just on Easter, but whenever someone is placed in your path.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven He spoke these words in Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
That is our commission, and we carry it out by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged by the words of Paul to know Christ and Him crucified. You may be helped to read a chapter in the gospels each weekday, if you do that you will read through the gospels four times each year. Just think about how well you can know Jesus after reading the gospels through four times in a year. The resurrection isn’t just a day for us, because every Sunday we come together to celebrate our risen Savior and Lord. Every time we receive communion in our churches we are remembering Christ’s death and resurrection. Each time we see someone baptized in water we are watching them be buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. We are seeing them make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to be part of the body of Christ and remember the grace and mercy of God each day of the week during our prayer and devotional time.