It was two weeks before Easter, and the teacher was doing her best to arouse interest in the most sacred of all Christian holidays. She asked her class, "Does anyone know what it is that we will celebrate next Sunday?" There is always at least one student in every class who knows all the answers. Most of the class sat stunned, but the bright little girl answered, "Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem." "That's correct, Janice," said the teacher. "Now can anyone tell me what we celebrate the Sunday after Palm Sunday?" Again she was met with a sea of blank stares -- except for you-know-who. The teacher acknowledged the hand of the little answer woman, who promptly responded, "The Sunday after Palm Sunday is Easter Sunday." The teacher should have left well enough alone. She pushed it further and asked, "What happened on Easter, Janice? Do you know? "Oh yes, teacher. Easter is when Jesus Christ rose from the grave." "That's right," interrupted the teacher. But Janice wasn't finished. "Yes, and when Jesus comes out of the grave, if he sees his shadow, he goes back in for six more weeks, but if he doesn't see his shadow, he stays out!"
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central and foremost tenet of the Christians faith. As Michael Green puts it:
Christianity does not hold the resurrection to be one among many tenets of belief. Without faith in the resurrection, there would be no Christianity at all. The Christian church would never have begun; the Jesus movement would have fizzled out like a damp firecracker with his execution. Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once you disprove it, you have disposed of Christianity.
It was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that changed the cowering disciples as they hid behind locked doors, transforming them into a band of champions of their crucified Lord. It proved that the Liberator had indeed come to set man free from his sins...even from himself!
The resurrection is a declaration that freedom from guilt, and power to conquer our failures and our weaknesses, are still available to all men. In fact, that has been good news for twenty-one centuries - that in coming to Jesus Christ, men and women find the ability to rise above this locked-in sinful nature. And though we don't do it perfectly, and at times fall back into evil- for nobody yet has presented a perfect pattern in doing this except Jesus-nevertheless, the healing begins to take place. Change and transformation begin, and life is different.
This week, of course, is not just the lead-in to Resurrection Sunday. It should be a week in which we worship the King throughout the week. We reflect upon our great redemption through the death of Christ, realizing that His resurrection is that which gives certainty and assurance to our great salvation. This is truth that should cause us to want to dance!
Don't let Sunday slip up on you. Reflect on the resurrection and what a difference it makes in your every day life. For one, it proves God's promises are true. Make this a special week....and reach out and invite someone(s) to the celebration on Resurrection Sunday.