Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It is an affirmation about life after death—an assurance of eternal life with God. It is also a statement about a quality of life here on earth—an assurance of a better life here and now.
Undoubtedly, Easter is a unique historical event which affirms Jesus’ victory over death. That event, however, becomes real, relevant and meaningful to those who bind their lives to the triumphant Lord. Only after the encounter with the risen Lord, does Easter receive a new meaning. That’s what happened to the disciples of Jesus. Although Christ had risen from the dead on the Sunday following his crucifixion, they had a hard time at first believing in the news of his resurrection. It was not until each in turn had experienced, in his or her own way, the undeniable presence of the living Christ that they were convinced. Each had a so-called “eastering event” in his or her own life. John and Peter’s eastering happened when they saw the shroud-littered empty tomb of Jesus. Mary found her eastering event when Jesus spoke to her in the garden. The doubting Thomas had his eastering event when Jesus showed him the marks of his wounds.
Once the early followers of Jesus experienced the risen Lord in their lives, they were completely transformed. Their sorrow gave way to joy, and that joy made them courageous and confident. This little band of once-demoralized people suddenly became brave witnesses of Jesus. Fearlessly declaring the Gospel of the risen Christ, they became a powerful movement challenging the Roman Empire.
As in the past, today people can also experience the eastering event of the new life of Christ if they accept him as Lord and Savior of their lives. Following that, a marvelous transformation takes place in their lives. That decisive encounter will give them a new perspective. It will fill their lives with peace, purpose and power. It will give them faith, hope and spiritual strength to push aside the stone of self-defeat. They will no longer be afraid of dying, nor will they be afraid of living. They will be able to declare with conviction: “Christ has risen from the dead. He is risen indeed!”