Psst…It’s OK to talk about the Resurrection on Easter Sunday

Easter Question

Yesterday was Easter Sunday.  For most Christians around the world, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord was celebrated.  For most, you ask?  That’s right – for most.

I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing that others might be wondering – what do you mean “for most?”

Well, for those of us in attendance at the Northwest Tampa Church of Christ, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  We also spent time talking about the last week of the life of Jesus – the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, His time in the Garden, His trial, His crucifixion, and finally, His resurrection.

Sadly, there were churches out there that did not spend time even discussing the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Now, let me stop here and state that it is not a mandatory rule that we do this.  In fact, no where in the Bible does it mention Easter, or that we need to spend one Sunday out of 52 weeks celebrating the resurrection.

But let me ask you – why wouldn’t we do this?

I talked with several people yesterday and today about how their Easter church service went – and I had about 5 people who said “Our church didn’t even talk about the resurrection, except for in a prayer during Communion” – or something similar to that.

In the Churches of Christ – we take Communion/The Lord’s Supper every Sunday.  Somewhere along the way, members who were of the slightly more conservative persuasion decided that we didn’t need to celebrate the resurrection on “Easter” because we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection every week during Communion.  They were afraid, I suppose, that if we talked about the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, that it would be too “denominational” and we would be erring.

That makes me sad.  It makes me sad that there are people who would specifically choose NOT to talk about the resurrection of our Lord and Savior on a certain day, basically because a church they disagree with is doing the same thing that day.

Sounds silly doesn’t it?

Its the same way at Christmas – you could sing “O Come All Ye Faithful” all year long until December, but then when December hits, you can’t sing it any more because its as if by singing that song, you’re saying that Jesus was indeed born in December.

Here are a few reasons why you SHOULD celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday, and perhaps even make it the emphasis of your Sunday worship:

1.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  Let me make one thing clear – it is NEVER not okay to talk about Jesus.  The resurrection is a great topic, and is always appropriate to discuss on a Sunday morning, a Tuesday afternoon, or a Friday night.

2.  People expect it.  Believe it or not, even non-Christians, visitors who have never been to Church, or anyone else you can think of have to make a decision to go to church on Easter Sunday.  I know, they should be more “faithful” in their attendance, but they made the decision to go on Easter.  They probably even know, since Easter is about the resurrection, to expect a lesson on it.

3.  Its a great opportunity.  You’ll have one of the largest percentages of unchurched, non-Christian visitors on this day.  Why would you not take time to tell them about how Jesus died, and then conquered death, and rose from the dead?

4.  It is one of the most, if not THE MOST, important things in the New Testament.  I read somewhere that the resurrection is the crowning proof of Christianity.  In reality – everything that Jesus did, the disciples did – is secondary in importance to the Resurrection.

If there was no resurrection, what we do now is in vain, its not true.

Death is a great enemy, and Jesus defeated it.  None of us can.  But Jesus can.

For those of you who use the idea that we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection in the Churches of Christ every week, let me ask you this:  Do we really?

Sadly, I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve discussed the resurrection during Communion time.  We’re so good about focusing on the pain and the sacrifice portion, but rarely do we bring up during Communion the part about how Jesus rose from the grave, and now lives forever.  You see, its not just that Jesus died, but he rose from the dead, and never died again.  And He won’t.  He’ll live forever, having defeated death.

Listen, I know we get nervous.  I know we want to make sure we do things right so we don’t stray from the Scriptures or the teachings of the New Testament.  But talking about the resurrection on Easter Sunday is not a sin.  It’s not wrong.  It’s a blessing.  It’s a blessing to talk about our risen Savior, and not just on Easter Sunday, but every day of the year.

What its about today

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”  One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”…

…When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”