Where Were You, That First Easter?
This Easter morning I got up early and went to the beach to watch the sunrise. The horizon was covered in haze, but as the sun rose its light reflected on the higher cloud until at last, it broke through. I sat transfixed by a glorious new day. I was expecting the sun to rise. It does every morning. That’s why I was there, to see the sunrise and think about that first Easter.
One of the things I thought about was how the disciples managed to miss the moment of Christ’s resurrection. It seems that Christ rising from the dead was the last thing the disciples expected that first Easter. Where were they? The first one on the scene was Mary Magdalene, who came with Mary, Christ’s mother, and another lady named Salome. When they found the tomb empty, they were distraught. They rushed home, and Mary returned with Peter and John, who confirmed that Jesus’ body was gone and his burial clothes remained. The Bible says, ‘for they as yet did not understand the scripture that he should rise from the dead’.
I’d like to think that if we could travel back in time to that first Easter, we would have got up early enough to witness the resurrection. What an utterly breathtaking experience. The blinding light shone out, how the earth must have shaken. To have seen the stone roll away and our Jesus alive and risen.
The Gospels give a wonder-filled and accurate account of what happened that first Easter. The majority of credentialed historians agree that we have very early, reliable eye witness accounts of the death and resurrection.
The Epistles give a slightly different view. They record God’s account of what happened. Here’s the amazing thing; According to the epistles we, you and I, were there that first Easter. It’s not that we were sitting on our fold-out chairs with hot chocolate, but we were there, as real as Christ was there.
According to the epistles we were crucified at the cross (Galatians 2:20, 6:14, Romans 6:6). Our sin and its ultimate price were placed on Christ and in God’s eyes, the price we needed to pay, was paid in full.
Then we were buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12) and buried in death to our old life of self-righteousness. As far as God is concerned our life of sin was left in the grave.
Then, according to God’s Word, when Christ was in the grave, and God boomed from heaven “you have been made righteous”, He was speaking about us. Christ rose from the dead when we were declared righteous! (Romans 4:25)
And then, in the finale of our resurrection to new life, we were presented to God the Father as his eternal prize, His children re-born in holiness and righteousness, to live victoriously. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
So, I suppose even if we had been waiting outside the tomb, sitting on our camping chairs with our hot chocolate drink, we would have missed the full resurrection. The resurrection which was us, dead to sin, risen in righteousness and seated with our Father in heavenly places!