“If for this life only we who have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep”.
-1 Corinthians 15:19-20
They put him in a tomb on a Friday afternoon. They rolled a large stone against the entrance. He was dead. Let no one disturb his body. They even stationed guards at the tomb to make sure that no one would take him away. But they forgot one thing; they hadn’t figured on God! God had sent him on a mission which included death, but death wasn’t the end of the errand. God raised him from the dead; He defeated death from the inside out!
Martin Luther in his small catechism asks “What does this mean?” Some would ask now, “What does Easter mean?” “What’s the big deal?” I am glad you asked. In the hymn “Come My Way, My Truth, My Life”, written in the 1600’s, author George Herbert writes: “Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life: Such a way as gives us breath; Such a truth as ends all strife, Such a life as killeth death.”
Death is killed! It no longer has the last word! The last word now belongs to Jesus! And he speaks to you and me, just like he spoke to Mary that first Easter morning. He calls us by name and gives us a new life. Because of Easter there is forgiveness. Because of Easter there is victory. Because of Easter there is love and courage. Because of Easter there is an everlasting future, not a dead end. That’s what Easter means. That’s what the difference is. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ!