Easter comes quietly. Perhaps that fits with the quiet glory of the angel’s declaration at the empty tomb, “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6): Jesus’ resurrection was not announced with parades, with fireworks, with press conferences. Rather, it was announced to a few of His faithful followers, followers who heard the voices of angels, followers who felt the nail prints in His palms, followers who then carried the gladdest tidings to all the world—He lives!
Easter, with its news of resurrection, is the very foundation of Christianity’s message to the world. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (I Corinthians 15:14). Indeed, the message of Christianity is that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), and that message stands only on the reality of the Resurrection. If Jesus had died—and stayed dead—Christianity would be just another lifestyle choice informed by another gifted teacher. Because Christ rose from the tomb, however, Christianity inspires us with the hope and knowledge that “in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22).
Surely, without the message of Easter, the eternities would be closed off to us forever, and death would be the end of all that we do and all that we are. Alone, no one of us could overcome death, could overcome our own sins and weakness and return to our Father in Heaven. Left to our own strength, we could only hope to live as long and as happily as possible before slipping forever into the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). We needed someone like the One Isaiah spoke of when he wrote, “[B]y his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors: and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:11-12). We needed a Savior who would conquer death and conquer sin and then share His victory with each of us so that we, through Him, could conquer them as well.
Jesus of Nazareth is that Savior. When He told the apostles that He was “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), He was not speaking figuratively. “I am the door,” He said: “by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:13). Without Christ, without the Resurrection, eternity would be walled off to us forever. But because of Christ, that wall now has a door. Because of Christ, we have access to eternity, with all its promises of joy and rest. Truly, He is the way because, without Him, there would be no way, no hope “for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God” (Ether 12:4).
Christ lives, and, because He lives, we have hope in our own resurrection and redemption. Yes, Christ lives, and, because He lives, the Christian world sings:
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and trimphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the vict’ry won, Alleluia!
Jesus’ agony is o’er, Alleluia!
Darkness veils the earth no more, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
(Hymns, No. 200)