Easter (or Resurrection Sunday as I prefer to call it) has become kind of a second-class holiday for Christians. There are two big religious holidays on our calendar: Christmas and Easter. Christmas by far is the biggest celebration for Christians. In fact, Christmas is kind of the climax of the entire year isn’t it? We look forward to Christmas. We save all year for Christmas. It is a big celebration. Easter on the other hand is for most people just another long weekend, another chance to get away.
I want to submit to you today that we have it all backwards. Without Easter, Christmas has no meaning. What difference does the manger make if there is no resurrection? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then He was just another idealistic Jew. It is Easter that gives Christmas its real meaning.
Consider this: In all of the New Testament, no major doctrinal point is ever built upon the virgin birth of Christ. Now, the virgin birth is true. It is important, but it is never discussed. In fact two gospels don’t say anything about the virgin birth. But the resurrection, that’s a different story. All throughout the New Testament we read about the resurrection. When the first sermons were preached by the New Testament church, they didn’t talk about the manger, they talked about the empty tomb. They never got over the excitment of that first Easter, when they discovered that the tomb was indeed empty. Why? Well, to be truthful, each of them had grave doubts. Three days earlier they had walked away with heads hung low, feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and fear all collided. I mean they were devastated, they had grave doubts, but…. those doubts turned to faith.
Yesterday morning I preached on the subject, “Grave Doubts.” It is o.k. to have grave doubts, as long as they lead you to faith.
We examined some of the recent attacks on the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We addressed the most recent attack “The Jesus Family Tomb.” I challenged our folks to 1) Examine the Evidence, 2) Answer the Antagonist, and 3) Fortify their Faith.