There are many religions in the world today, but Christianity is exceptionally different because of the resurrection of Jesus - that makes Christianity unique. Every other religious teacher was alive at one time. You can travel around the world and visit the graves of some of these individuals. It is an undeniable fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived, and there is an irrefutable record from the eyewitnesses that Jesus not only claimed to have come back from the dead, but 500 people saw Him over a 40 day period of time.
Easter Sunday is the holiest day on the Christian calendar. This day is celebrated as the time Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to a number of people just as He said He would. The Apostle Paul tells us that we have hope today because Jesus was victorious over sin, death and Satan.
Easter Sunday is the dawning of a brand new day for the Christian. It is interesting that each of the Gospel writers record explicit details of the resurrection story. Most non-Biblical biographies end with the death of the person who is the subject because there is no more to say. The resurrection of Jesus is the essential part of the message of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) because there is much more to say!
Without the resurrection there is no hope for anyone beyond death. Warren Wiersbe said it so well, “The empty cross and the empty tomb are God’s receipt telling us that the debt has been paid.”
This morning our lesson is titled, “The God You Can Get Close To” as we focus on the Easter story found in the Gospel of John 20:1-18. It is a great reality that we can get close to Jesus - Easter provides us with that opportunity. The woman (who were the first to the tomb) and the disciples finally discoverd that to be true. It took a while for them to realize that He was indeed alive, but when they did the world has never been the same.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Sunday at Bristol!
Remember, you are loved and appreciated!