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ESSENTIALS OF A BIBLICAL EASTER

Reading: Luke 24:1-53...


Text: vss. 44-47...

INTRODUCTION:
I use the term Easter loosely. My personal preference is to use the term
Resurrection Sunday. There are many different names for it in the languages of
the world with ties to Paschal and Passover, and of course our English word
Easter is reckoned to have come from a term used in ancient Anglo-Saxon times
with ties to one of their pagan festivals. If you look up the term in an English
dictionary today you will find it defined in terms such as these:

Definitions found in todays dictionaries...


Easter Sunday in March or April when Christians celebrate the time when Jesus
Christ died then returned to life according to the Bible; the holiday period that
includes Easter day (Microsoft Word; Learners Dictionary)
Easter Christian festival in spring; a Christian festival marking the resurrection
of Jesus Christ. (Microsoft Word; Encarta Dictionary)

It is also celebrated in many different ways in different countries, cultures and


within Christianity as a whole. It is even celebrated on various dates depending
upon whether it is fixed to the Julian calendar or solar calendar, etc. Many of the
traditions in the way it is celebrated are tied to OT Jewish Passover celebrations...
traditions within Catholicism as well as Eastern Orthodox... traditions that came
out of the Reformation... and many other Christian traditions as well as the
unfortunate pagan ties of Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and such, that though they
have definite ties to pagan festivals, have been redefined to better fit our
Christian traditions.

Hence, you have my statement that my real preference is to call it Resurrection


Sunday. In some languages of the world the celebration is called by names that

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are tied specifically to the fact of the Resurrection and if that is what I am truly
celebrating I would rather say so in a way that leaves no misunderstanding. If this
is truly set aside as a Christian festival to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord
Jesus Christ then may I encourage you to do so in a way that does so.

I think it is worthy to keep in mind the words of Paul to the church at Colossi.
(Colossians 2:8-3:4...)

What is essential to celebrating Easter? May I say that today, across the world as
many celebrate this day, that for all too many the essentials have become things
like: Easter bunnies... Easter eggs (painted, chocolate and all types)... Easter egg
hunts... a new Easter outfit... a great Easter meal... and yes, even meaningless
religious rituals! Now all of those things arent necessarily bad in themselves, but
when they come to be what represents Easter to us or the essentials for us
celebrating Easter, weve badly gone astray!!!

Something that is essential is that which is necessary. You see, I dont know one
of those things mentioned that should be essential to celebrating Easter or
Resurrection Sunday. Whatever you choose to call it, I want to remind you of
what is essential in celebrating it in a Biblical manner (which should be paramount
in all we do). I know of no one better do guide us than Jesus Himself, so lets turn
our attention back to our text for today... What is essential to a Biblical Easter?

II. A BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING


Vss. 44-45... From this passage and others it is clear that Christ had taught
his disciples from the OT all the Scriptures concerning Himself (Messiah)
and that literally ALL THINGS the OT said and prophesied of Him, MUST be
fulfilled... EVERYTHING!!! It seems that v45 is speaking of a supernatural
opening of their understanding that they might clearly understand the
scriptures they had heard. That should come as no surprise since in fact the
same thing is necessary today.
(1 Cor. 2:1-16)

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Let us pray that today He might open our understanding, that we might
understand the scriptures. May He, through the Scriptures, remind us
clearly what it is that MUST be... What it is that is essential to that which
we claim to celebrate...

v.46... And said unto them, Thus it is written...


thus therefore; consequently; that being the case...

it is written That is the defining factor! If, as He has just stated, all
things MUST be fulfilled, which are WRITTEN in Gods Word and its those
scriptures to which, as believers, He opens our understanding then thats
why it is written. We just as surely have Gods written Word before us and
it is His written Word through which He will open our understanding
Thus it is written...!!! Thats why its written! Thats why we have His
written word! God has given us His inspired Word and preserved it for us
so that He can open our understanding through the gift of the Holy Spirit,
and on this matter as all others, we can have a Biblical understanding
today!

That is an absolute essential if we are to have a Biblical celebration of the


resurrection! We must understand what is written in the Bible! Because
God said it... Because of everything God said in the OT concerning sin, its
consequences and its remedy... Because of everything God said about the
needed and coming Messiah/Saviour... Because of all the types and
shadows He gave us... Because of mans fall and subsequent sin and
because a sufficient sacrifice would be required to atone for mans sin...

Note what Jesus says next that is essential...

II. A BLOOD SACRIFICE


v.46 ...and thus it behoved Christ to suffer...

You cant have a resurrection without a death! However, were not


celebrating just any resurrection. We have a number of other examples of
resurrections in scripture.

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Son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:22)
Son of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:35)
Dead man restored to life at the touch of Elishas bones (2 Kings
13:21)
Jairus daughter (Matt. 9:25; Mark 5:42)
Saints at the time of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:52)
Son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:15)
Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:44)
Dorcas (Acts 9:40)

All of these people had to die before they could be resurrected. However,
its not their resurrections we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday. With the
exception of the OT saints, these all faced death again. They were
resurrected physically but death eventually caught up to them again. Christ
is the firstfruits of the eternal resurrection!

All of mankind face death because of sin. All have sinned and come short
of the glory of God. --- The wages of sin is death... --- It is appointed unto
man once to die, but after this the judgement!

Jesus Christ did not die for His sins but for the sins of the world! It was
not His sins for which He suffered and died... it was ours!

and thus it behoved Christ to suffer... It was necessary for Christ to


suffer... It was essential for Christ to suffer... Not just to die any death, but
that the spotless lamb of God, shed His own sinless blood to redeem all
who would come to Him in faith!

1 Peter 3:18... Gal. 1:4... Heb. 9:22-28... Heb. 13:12... 1 John 1:7...
1 John 2:2... The blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ was essential for the
redemption of lost mankind... the only sufficient sacrifice, for all men, and
for all time, but He met every requirement of God. How do we know this
for certain? How do we know the sacrifice was sufficient?

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...and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third
day: The next essential of a Biblical celebration of this glorious day...

III. A BODILY RESURRECTION

V.46 ...and thus it behoved Christ... to rise from the dead the third
day:
It was essential that Christ rise from the dead the third day!!! The bodily
resurrection of our Lord is proof positive that His sacrifice was sufficient.
Death would have held him if it had fallen short of Gods requirements in
any way. The wages would have still been due. He died the death that was
the penalty for our sins and He paid the price in full. Death had no hold
over Him and through His sacrifice, has no hold over us! The bodily
resurrection of Jesus proved without doubt Who He was!

Rom. 1:1-4... Eph. 1:17-21... Acts 17:2-3... Acts 26:22-23...


It is the bodily resurrection that gives us our hope... It is the bodily
resurrection that sets our faith apart from all other religions...

Illustration: The Egyptian PYRAMIDS are famous because they contained the
mummified bodies of ancient Egyptian kings. WESTMINSTER Abbey in London is
renowned, because in it rests the bodies of ENGLISH Kings, Queens, and Nobles..
MOHAMMEDs tomb is noted for the stone coffin and the bones it contains. The
TAJ MAHAL was built as a memorial to a wife of one of Indias Shahs. But the
garden TOMB of Jesus is famous not because of what is inside, but because it is
empty!

1 Peter 1:3... Rom. 8:11... 1 Cor. 6:14... 2 Cor. 4:14...


1 Cor. 15:12-19; 54-57...

What is essential to a Biblical Easter?

A Biblical Understanding...
A Blood Sacrifice...
A Bodily Resurrection...

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Jesus gives us one other essential here that is required for a Biblical Easter.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the


scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved
Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day;

v.47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in


his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

IV. A BOLD WITNESS

Illustration: You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich


Bukharin. During his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A
Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was
editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a
full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are
still read today. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev
in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the
crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and
proof against it.
An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the
smoldering ashes of men's faith. "Are there any questions?" Bukharin demanded.
Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the
platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He
surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the
ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: "CHRIST IS RISEN!"
En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the
sound of thunder: "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"
I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! I am convinced! I believe what God
has written! I have faith that Christ died and shed His blood for my sins, that he
was buried, and that He rose again the third day!!! I also believe that He is
coming again in glory. I also know that I need to proclaim that truth to the world!

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It is vital that we understand clearly this final essential to a Biblical Easter!
It doesnt matter that Jesus suffered and shed His blood on Calvary It
doesnt matter that they buried Him and that He rose again the third day
It doesnt matter what Jesus did and that He was the propitiation for the
sins of the whole world, if that world never knows. It is essential that we
boldly witness to these truths!

Repentance People need to know that they are sinners against God and
that unless they turn from their sins they must pay the wages of that sin
which is death

Remission of sins They must recognize that when they turn from their sin
they can find remission for their sins in the blood sacrifice and bodily
resurrection of Jesus Christ!

That is the simple truth of Scripture that everyone must have their
understanding opened to. They must recognize that it is Gods written
Word and therefore MUST be believed!

Have you heard and understood those truths today? Do you believe it and
are you willing to act upon it?

An absolute essential of a Biblical Easter is a bold witness!!!

Illustration: The End of the World

There is a beautiful valley in Switzerland which is deeply hidden in that mountain


range known as the Alps. That valley is completely surrounded by steep mountain
walls. If one enters this valley, that person will move along the only road until it
ends at the base of a steep wall of rock.
The Swiss call this place the "End of the World." However, if one is willing to go
climbing by foot, Swiss guides will show a determined hiker the path that leads up
and over that mountain barrier.
Reflecting upon this natural phenomenon, Harleigh Rosenberger comments that
many people believe that life is like a road that runs through the valley of time.

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"We cannot turn back but must continue walking onward. The days pass quickly,
and then comes the end of the road. We stand at the sheer rock wall we call
death. It is the end of our world, for it is the end of life."
Because Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and we have through him
received the gift of eternal life, we find a way up and over that wall of rock. Jesus
said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were
dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26).
Donald William Dotterer, Up and Down the Mountain, CSS Publishing Company,

This gift of eternal life does not begin at death. It begins now for all who repent
and have their sins remitted through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the only way out.
God wants you to be a guide, to show others the way past that sheer wall of
death at the end of the world.

Rom. 10:9-17...

CONCLUSION:
Let us truly celebrate Resurrection Sunday in a Biblical manner! Forget all the
non-essentials that tend to cloud the way and leave here today with a truly
Biblical perspective of this celebration, focusing on the true essentials...

A Biblical Understanding...

A Blood Sacrifice...

A Bodily Resurrection...

A Bold Witness...

Invitation...