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Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ - James C. Bell

Easter is a Christian festival that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important holy day of the Christian religion.

People attend churches and take part in religious ceremonies. Its name may have come from the Teutonic festival of spring, called Eostur. Most Christians observe Easter on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

The story of Easter comes from the Bible. The Gospels tell that the body of Jesus disappeared from His tomb on the third day after His crucifixion. An angel appeared to His followers and announced, "He is risen." It's true!

"Jesus rose again the third day," according to the Scriptures! (Corinthians 15:3-4). Christians everywhere celebrate Easter with great rejoicing. In many areas, children collect candy and chocolate bunnies and hunt Easter eggs. Many persons wear new spring clothes to church on Easter.

On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ into the Holy City. He came not as a conquering king, but as a humble servant, not riding on a white horse, but on the back of a donkey's colt. People cut palm branches and laid them in His path as they shouted hosanna, hosanna (a shout of praise or adoration to the Lord -- in Hebrew, it meant "save us now or save us, we pray").

On good Friday, the day of Christ's crucifixion, we remember Jesus' suffering on the cross. He was nailed to a wooden cross, the nails driven through His hands and feet. This, after He was beaten severely, tortured and cursed and spit upon. His glorious resurrection came on the third day, Sunday -- the first day of the week.

He died and was buried on Friday, the first day. He was dead in the tomb on the second day, and on the third day, He arose from the grave; alive again as He triumphantly came out of the tomb!

So, the first message of the empty tomb is that Jesus was who He claimed to be -- the messenger from God to tell us of the Father's love for us. The second message is that we can face the death of our own loved ones, or even our own death, in faith and not in fear.

First Thessalonians 4:13 says, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, God will bring with Him." Because Jesus rose, we now know there is life beyond the grave.

Because Jesus was recognized by His loved ones, we now know we will be recognized by our loved ones -- for we will be known as we are known even now. But, perhaps, the greatest message of the empty tomb is that we can live victorious Christian lives, because when Jesus arose victorious over sin, death and the grave, He also gave us victory over the world, flesh and the devil.

Romans 6:4 says, "That like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life."

Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can believe that the Bible is absolute truth -- that God does exist, that God did send His only begotten Son into the world to be our Savior, that we can know that the rapture of the church is imminent, and the return of Christ will occur, just as He promised.

And, also that the reality of Heaven will soon be ours!

Praise God! Have a happy and joyous Easter.