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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1023. Easter Sunday - The greatest day (31/3/24)

During this Easter Week, I thought that it would be helpful to look at some of the events and teaching on each day running up to today - Resurrection Sunday - The Greatest Day! Today we reflect on the greatest day in history - Easter Sunday. 


Lesson: Easter reminds us that God keeps His promises to save and empower by the Spirit. 


You can listen to this devotional below (It’s also available on Spotify on the Community Church Putney podcast) 


I wonder what the best day of your life has been so far? Maybe a wedding, a birth, a birthday, a holiday, a job offer… We all have days that bring us particular joy. However, for the Christian, we all share a view that the first Easter Sunday - when Jesus rose - was the greatest day in history. I guess that one could argue that Good Friday -when Jesus died- was the greatest day, however, as great as that day was, we only know that it was a victory, rather than a miserable defeat - as the disciples thought, because the victory of the cross was confirmed by Jesus’ resurrection! John Stott wrote of the way that the resurrection confirmed the victory of the cross:

‘The resurrection was the conquest confirmed and announced. We are not to regard the cross as defeat and the resurrection as victory. Rather, the cross was the victory won, and the resurrection the victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated.’ (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, P.218)

Some of the events of Easter Sunday: 


i. The empty tomb, the angels and unbelief 

‘On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”  ’ Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.’ (Luke 24:1-2, 4-12)

Notice how no one - not the women, not the men, expected a resurrection. They simply believed that Jesus had died. 


ii.  Jesus reveals Himself as risen

‘While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”’  (Luke 24:36-39)

Jesus has to convince them that He’s actually alive rather than the appearance of a ‘ghost’!


iii. The promises fulfilled and the promise of the Spirit given

‘He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”’ (Luke 24:44-49)

Jesus reminds them of how His death and resurrection were the fulfilment of Old Testament promise. And now, having shown that God fulfils His promises, He goes on to give them the promise of empowering of the Spirit and, as a consequence, the success of His mission to all nations.  


Response - Let the greatest day fill you with faith

Easter reminds us that God keeps His promises to save and empower by the Spirit. Those first disciples, even the best of them, failed to believe Jesus’ promise of resurrection. God’s Word and Jesus Himself had spoke of His suffering, death and resurrection but they needed to be convinced that this had happened. God wants to teach us that He keeps His promises. He wants us to be a people who trust in the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection and all the good things that this achieves for us. Added to this, Jesus has made another promise. He told them, 

‘“…Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”’

Will we believe this promise? Will we believe that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is gifted to us? Will we believe that the power of resurrection can make us victorious in the mission of God? This Easter, God reminds us that He keeps His promises to save and empower by the Spirit.


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

There are no notes for this week. However, if you are meeting, feel free to use this Easter Sunday devotional as a basis for your study and discussion together.

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