The Importance of Easter
By Conor Culverhouse
Easter was always a fun time of year growing up. As young children we painted eggs in school, ate a lot of chocolate and it always came with a two-week holiday. We would sing Easter-based hymns which contained some vague acknowledgement of the resurrection but were enjoyed mostly for their mention of chocolate and its consumption. Compared to Christmas, Easter seemed very much to play second fiddle. There was no nativity-type performance (for obvious reasons), and Jesus was rarely, if ever, mentioned. One thing that was still clear was that Easter was a religious holiday, but it was not met with the same enthusiasm as Christmas.
We see that reflected in society today. The world goes crazy for Christmas and, given its impact, it is a time of year for unbelievers to consider its origins and why we celebrate it. Easter doesn’t seem to have the same energy as Christmas and this, to me at least, is sad. As I came to know more about Christianity it was clear that the entire faith hinges on Easter, and specifically, the resurrection. We see in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty”. In essence, if Jesus was not resurrected then there is nothing to believe in. Paul goes on to write in verse 17 “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” In my walk, this realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks. It became everything; if the resurrection happened, we must repent and give our lives to Christ. If it did not happen then we are left with some major questions about life, its origins, our purpose and all the other answers that Christ provides.
The more real the resurrection became the more sense everything made. Not only did Jesus’ resurrection validate His deity and His claims to being the Son of God but it also validated His entire ministry. If He never rose from the dead, then He clearly could not have been who He said He was. It was the greatest of all the miracles. His death and resurrection affirm His life as it proves that He was God incarnate – He had done the impossible act He predicted He would do. He prophesied many times about His resurrection on the third day and the completion of that is proof that He is God in at least two ways: He had access to knowledge only God could have known and; He was risen from the dead. It also validates the entirety of Scripture. As we considered last Easter, Jesus’ life fulfils the prophecies in Isaiah 53 (to name one of many) thus confirming the validity and authority of the earlier writings.
As the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together everything painted one cohesive and complementary picture of our relationship with God and His Creation. Knowing that, through Jesus, reconciliation with God was possible and being provided answers to the major questions of our existence, Christ became too convincing to deny any longer. Easter played a vital role in my surrendering to Christ and my understanding of who Jesus was and what He has done for us. With this came a realisation that Jesus is who He says He is, and He deserves praise for that.
Easter is a time of the fulfilment of what it was the world was anticipating. With this fulfilment comes hope. The world today is full of despair, disaster and misery; it is, after all, a fallen world. Day after day news outlets peddle fear of whatever evil is the current fad: Covid and election outcomes have been the most prominent in recent times. This provides believers with a great opportunity to show the world of the hope that is within us. While the secular world seemingly deals in sadness and suffering, we as believers have hope. We have the promise that God is with us in all that we do and that His will for our lives and for the world is perfect. We can live without fear for we know that He is in control of our every breath. Our hope and optimism is sure to make an impact on unbelievers that are consumed by the world’s shortcomings and have no such hope. If this was all we had to live for then it is easy to see why there is no hope. We see that being followers of Christ gives us hope that there will be better days ahead but more importantly, we have hope in our salvation. We have hope in being reconciled with God in heaven where God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). This should spur us on to give this message of hope to others, with the hope that they may share in a world that glorifies God and in which there is no misery or sadness.
This leads to a final point of application. Let us approach the Easter season with the same vigour and excitement with which we expend at Christmas. Let us share with others why we celebrate Easter and the importance it holds. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you”. This shows that we need to be ready to give a defence of our faith, more specifically the hope, that we have. This hope is found in Christ. It is found in His death and His resurrection which is why we celebrate. He is risen. He is “seated at the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:69) awaiting His return. Easter provides us a great opportunity for evangelism and for radiating the hope we have in this world that seems to be void of hope in any form.
We live in a society which is accused of spreading fake or misleading news. But let us consider this truth: there is no greater news than the Gospel. Not just in this life but in the life everlasting. Let us be bold in our faith, and infectious with our desire to worship God this Easter that it may ignite a fire within the heart of an unbeliever.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16