The Impact of Easter in 5 Bible Verses
Easter isn’t just bunnies and eggs, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Bible teaches us that this supernatural occurrence has many implications for us today. Here are 5 of them, right from the Bible, with a brief explanation of why I love them so:
Mark 16:7 "Now - on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You'll see him there, exactly as he said."
While this verse speaks of the exciting news that Jesus is indeed alive and about to meet with his disciples again soon, that’s not why I chose it. Instead it’s the 2 little words, "and Peter" that made me include it.
If you consider the setting of the Easter story, you will remember that Peter had betrayed Jesus 3 times just 2 days before. While he had vowed he would never turn his back on Jesus, Peter quickly broke that vow when his own life was at risk. In fact, Peter swore he never even knew Jesus!
What an amazing testament to the real meaning of Easter! God’s incredible grace was extended to all, even those who betrayed him. So great was this grace that Peter became one of the strongest leaders in the early church. This verse should give all of us 21st century Peters hope and peace, no matter what we have done.
Luke 24:27 "Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him."
This verse is exciting to me because it tells me that the entire Bible is God’s love letter to humans. From the very beginning of time, Adam and Eve were promised a redeemer, someone who would erase the sin they had committed and restore their relationship with God. This verse tells us, in Jesus’ own words, that he was that ultimate expression of God’s love.
Matthew 28:7 "Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."
These are the words of an angel to the women who had gone to the tomb early Easter morning to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. Since Jesus was quickly placed in a tomb after his death (because of the Sabbath), nothing was done to provide a proper Jewish burial. This handful of women was there to perform a very mundane female task.
Yet once they arrived at the tomb, they were confronted by the supernatural: an empty tomb, a resurrected master, and a shining angel! While those facts are remarkable in themselves, I am more impressed by the angel’s directions to them. These women were entrusted with the most important message in all history in a day when women were not even considered credible witnesses in court.
This certainly reminds me of how Jesus re-defined the worth of women. In a time when women were generally considered property, traded and discarded at the whim of their fathers and husbands, Jesus treated them as equals. Women were included in his followers, and he spoke with them in the same way he did with his male disciples.
So it seems perfect that Jesus allowed a group of women to be the first witnesses to his final triumph: his resurrection, the definitive proof that he was, indeed, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah.
John 20:19 "Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, Peace to you."
In this verse, the disciples are once again gathered as a unit, despite the fact that they had been scattered by the trial of Jesus and were running for their lives. Although they had enough courage to get together, they were obviously still terrified of the Jewish authorities since they were meeting in secret.
I’m sure the mood was not uplifting and positive. They must have been confused that their master didn’t assume the role of Messiah in the way they expected, but rather had died an accursed death on a Roman cross.
Into this gloomy atmosphere steps a glorious surprise: the risen Jesus! Imagine the shock and joy those men must have experienced. I’m sure they had a million questions, but Jesus knew the real need of their hearts: "Peace to you." More than anything, the disciples needed peace. But this wasn’t peace as we think of it today. Jesus was letting them know they now had a wonderful new level of peace with God because their sins were finally covered. They were free because of Easter!
Matthew 27:66 "So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards."
I chose this final verse because it reassures me of the truth of the Biblical account of Easter. The Jews and Romans expected the followers of Jesus to pull off some kind of trick that would make it look like Jesus had conquered death. They prepared for this by posting Roman guards at the mouth of his tomb.
No one messed with Roman guards! They were sworn to perform their duty at all costs – even at the cost of their own lives. Even if they could have bribed these staunch guards, the disciples didn’t have the courage to approach them – or the money to pay them.
The fact that the tomb was open, though the guards had sealed it, and the fact that it was empty, though they would have protected it with their lives, makes the gospel account all the more credible to me.
References: All verses are from The Message version of the Bible.