“(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” — John 20:9
The word Easter comes from an Old English word meaning ‘dawn’ or ‘to shine,’ which has some Germanic name basis from the goddess Eostre. The cardinal direction ‘East’ also comes from this word root, which makes sense given we see the sun rise in the east. Much like Christmas trees, the word Easter is yet another example of a variety of influences on Christianity. At any rate, Easter and Resurrection both depend on other things, clearly related, to define them. Easter, or dawn, requires nightfall; and resurrection requires death. Without those things, dawn and resurrection have no meaning. Our faith rests on our belief that Jesus died for our sins — nightfall to be sure, and that He rose again — God resurrected him. In this regard, the Son is our sun rising.
“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.” — John 20–11–12
The good news of Jesus’ resurrection lacks gravity without the despair of ‘Good Friday.’ The heartache of witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion still beset Mary Magdalene when she visited the tomb. That heartache plays an essential part in the Gospel. Without the pain and setbacks that led up to the Romans crucifying Jesus, it would be much more challenging to appreciate what Jesus indeed did for us. Likewise, our troubles often lead us closer to God, and the relief that a closer relationship with God brings us. In Luke 7:41–43, Jesus asks Simon, a Pharisee, which debtor loved the banker more. Simon’s answer was the one who owed more. Jesus’ death on a cross created a debt we can never repay. How much more will we forgive the one who forgave our debt? Without the debt or despair of ‘Good Friday,’ our story of redemption would be incomplete.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” — John 19:30
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” — Revelation 1:18
Fortunately for us, the story is complete; we only need to experience it. We know that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades; what power can stand against Him? Remember that He holds the ultimate victory. When we follow Christ, we are part of something much greater than ourselves. God is in action, even if we can’t see it or feel it. He remains faithful. This doesn’t mean we aren’t going to face troubles, setbacks, failures, disappointment, or death. Jesus tells us that, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He’s with us and does for us all the time. We are His.
Jesus went through what he did for us — for me. Even though we are part of something much more significant, we matter to God personally. That’s why He sacrificed His only son — for us. We need to internalize His word and build our lives on it. That requires us to get into God’s word, learn it, and allow it to take root in our hearts. The Resurrection is the most critical event in Christianity. It’s what binds us to Jesus and makes Christianity unique among the world’s faiths.