Monday, October 23, 2017

The First Easter

Monday, December 22, 2008, 12:00
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by Dr. Chuck Baynard

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For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Peter, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:3-5).

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At the time, Paul originally wrote these words there were literally hundreds of witnesses that had seen Jesus Christ after His burial and that first Easter morning when the tomb stood empty. History reveals some who at the time of the events attempted to dispute the fact Christ was really dead or that He arose from the dead. They were unable to overcome the vast number of eyewitnesses to these events.

Islam has stood opposed to the Christian religion from its founding, yet does not deny these facts from the Bible and history. They like all religions except Christianity deny who Jesus Christ was and not his existence or even the miraculous resurrection. Most simply see Christ as another prophet and of no higher rank than others. Islam of course claims Mohammed is the one true prophet and superior to Jesus.

Who do you say that Jesus Christ is? Any answer other than the Son of God separates you from the Christian religion and the hope that Easter renews each year in millions of hearts as it has since ca 30 AD. Denial of this one event makes the whole of the Bible and its promises pure vanity and Christianity the most poor among the religions of the world.

Jesus asked Peter this question, “Whom do you say I am?” Peter’s response was that He was the Son of God. Jesus said to Peter, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but the Holy Spirit. This remains true for believers today in that we no longer have this crowd of eyewitnesses to turn to for proof but must accept the words of Scripture as being true. This truth is as alive and vital today by faith as it was for those alive during the time of this world-changing event. As then, it remains the testimony of the Holy Spirit within the believer to his spirit that gives life to this historical fact and the promises of the Bible to people of faith.

Easter is not just celebrating some detail in the life of Jesus Christ, it is the renewing the hope that lives within each believer giving them access to the hope and promises of God and enabling them to know peace and contentment in the storms of life today.

From the pages of the Bible, we have many things that leave room for shadow and debate as to the exact meaning. We also find certain key events that are vital to the heart of our faith, which cannot be denied without denying God in the process. Easter is such a central truth in the life of the followers of Jesus Christ. No Easter means no Christ and no hope of eternal life as promised in the Bible. The first Easter is about Jesus Christ. The last Easter will be about you and me as we join Christ in eternity.

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Dr. Baynard is an Associate Editor of the Christian Observer and Senior Pastor at Clover Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Clover, South Carolina

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