By Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen, Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Matthew 28:5-6 ~ “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.’ ”
The religion of Christianity is based upon an empty tomb. What differs Christianity from other religions is the power we acknowledge in Jesus being resurrected from the grave. Easter is the celebration of the risen Savior.
It’s strange to me that Christmas is a national holiday that many celebrate and if not celebrated by everyone they still get a day off from work because of Jesus’s birth, but Easter is only considered as a religious holiday. To the Christian community Easter is so much more than egg hunts, candy, bunny rabbits, and new suits or dresses. Easter is a time when those who have not been to church in some time will come to celebrate that He is Risen. Those who are not fully committed to weekly corporate worship realize the importance of joining congregations in the celebration of the risen Savior.
The history of Easter – Jesus is risen.
The theology of Easter – Jesus is risen.
The hope of Easter – Jesus is risen.
The celebration of Easter – Jesus is risen.
Christians celebrate Easter because of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus changed a bad Friday into Good Friday. For the disciples and all of Jesus followers, when He was crucified on the cross, that was not a great day, but because of the resurrection we now call it Good Friday. The resurrection demonstrated new beginnings for all.
In this scripture of Matthew chapter 28 the women found no body in the tomb when they arrived. However, Jesus met them as they were leaving. This proves to us all that Jesus will meet us wherever we may be. Our lives do not have to be perfect, we may not always say or do the right things, or even show love to everyone but Jesus is willing to meet us all wherever we may be in life.
Easter is the celebration of no body being found in Jesus’ tomb. Nobody in the tomb is a sign for unbelievers that Jesus is the Savior of the world. No body serves as the guarantee that Jesus’ teachings are true and that He is the center of the gospel. Nobody is the motivation for evangelism and the power for our living. Nobody is God’s commitment to humanity. Nobody makes me celebrate and shout aloud to the world that He has risen. Easter is the celebration of no body being in Jesus’ tomb.
I once heard a preacher tell this story: A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly, out of nowhere a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings, he became petrified. His father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy.
The father sensed his son’s terror. Once again, he reached out his hand, but this time he pointed to this hand. There, stuck in his skin was the stinger of the bee. “you see this?” He asked. “you don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve taken the sting for you.”
Christians do not need to be afraid of death because Christ has taken the sting out of death and sin.
1 Corinthians 15:55-56: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Because of the resurrection we have received victory over any issue we shall face in this life.
I plead with the readers of this article to make plans to attend a Christian worship service April 12. Across the world many Christians will celebrate the fact the that no body was found in the tomb. I know in most African American churches you will see various color suits, beautiful hats and dresses; children will cry because they will have to recite speeches but please go knowing that the reason for Easter is the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. He is Risen!