Easter is imminent. Sure, every Sunday is Easter, in a sense. But once a year, the world catches a glimpse of this most-important moment. And this Sunday many will witness the death and resurrection of Jesus for the first time. For them, the weight of this message (and its implications) will press heavy on their heart. Easter demands a response. It always has.
Many others, like myself, have experienced Easter many times. Not one time in 31 years have I been anywhere other than a church building on Easter Sunday. If this is your story, there exists the temptation to normalize this day, to think the death, burial and resurrection no longer demands a response. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is the beauty of Easter, it requires something of you, and of me. And it does so for the first time, every time.
As we prepare for this day, I want to share some powerful Easter quotes and verses. If, while reading one, the words awaken something in you, stop reading. Meditate on them, think about what the Spirit might want to reveal through them.
Here we go.
1. I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. (Jesus Christ, John 11:25-26)
2. The image Jesus left the world, the cross, the most common image in the Christian religion, is proof that God cares about our suffering and pain…To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son’s suffering?…But a louder sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to man, “I love you.” (Phillip Yancey)
3. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny. (Rick Warren)
4. Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. (Pope John Paul II)
5. The cross is not a defeat, but a victory. It is the dramatic reassertion of the fact that God’s love is sovereign, that the rulers of the world do not have the last word, that the kingdom of God has defeated the kingdom of Satan, that the kingdoms of the world have now become, in principle, the kingdom of our God, and of his Messiah: and he shall reign for ever and ever. (N. T. Wright)
6. Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life. (Ravi Zacharias)
7. Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! (Luke 24:5-6)
8. The Cross will be for us as it was for Christ: proof of the greatest love. (Mother Teresa)
9. Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good; He came into this world to make dead people live. (Lee Strobel)
10. Jesus resurrection is the ground and basis of all true love, hope, and joy; for if Jesus is still in the grave then all of humanity will remain in the grave too. But he is not in the grave, and this makes all the difference. (G. K. Chesterton)
11. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
12. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him. (A. W. Tozer)
13. The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. (C. S. Lewis)
14. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there. (Clarence W. Hall)
15. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Easter is much more than a holiday. It’s an opportunity to respond, to change, to be transformed. The death, burial and resurrection narrative meets us where we are. This Easter, I pray you respond accordingly.
Grace and peace, friends.