By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Easter or Resurrection Sunday? So, why a distinction? Some believers refer to Easter as Resurrection Sunday, and for good reason. The Christian’s blessed hope resides in two stages: 1. Christ’s resurrection from death, hell and the grave almost two thousand years ago. 2. The resurrection of believers when we unite with Him.
Interestingly, the Bible refers to Easter only once. “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And when he had apprehended (Peter), he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people (Acts 12:1-4 KJV). This pagan king (Herod) planned on waiting until he celebrated Easter to kill another Christian.
I have never seen the resurrected Christ, but by faith, I know that one day I will meet Him face-to-face. I know this because the Bible tells me so. But, far too many people have never heard. I speak this to my shame, because God gives believers the power to be His witnesses. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8a).
Believing the gospel requires faith, and the resurrection is one aspect of the gospel consisting of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…By which also ye are saved…how that Christ died for our sins…And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The gospel that saves is simply someone believing (and trusting) in Christ’s atoning sacrifice: trusting in His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
We are to be witnesses. Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. After his betrayal, he took his own life, and a replacement had to be chosen. I want us to consider the charge for his replacement: one must be ordained to witness or preach Christ’s resurrection, “from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection (Acts 1:22b). Every believer is given this same charge—to be His witness.
Peter repeatedly testified that all the believers were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). “And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15). The Bible sums it up: “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:33a).
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:30-32).
Paul testifying the same truth. “But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people” (Acts 13:30-31).
So, Happy Resurrection Day! Be a witness to a world desperately looking for hope, desperately looking for answers. Keep looking up for our redemption draweth nigh.