By Sister Erin Light
Each Easter arrives with a basketful of choices. Ham battles turkey for the Easter dinner table. What pastel color wins majority for Sunday dress shirts? Don’t get me started on the epic candy egg throw-down; Cadbury creme-filled versus Reese’s peanut butter (the choice is so obvious I won’t even bother discussing it). But the real decision that still continues to circulate Christian communities for over 20 centuries is, “Do we believe Jesus Christ resurrected from the grave?” Believers certainly celebrate the empty cross; it’s found on necklaces, T-shirts, billboards, and more. But what about the critical piece, the empty tomb?
Can we believe in Jesus, call ourselves followers of Christ, but disregard the resurrection? It’s a simple, “No.” Jesus’ death paid for the sins of the world. And we can rejoice because He came back to life. His return proved His righteousness and validated the plan of salvation. God’s greatest transaction to us was this: God accepted Jesus’ death as payment for our sins. Without belief in the resurrection, our faith falls short. Plus, Paul would not hesitate to call us the most pitiful people he’s ever seen (1 Corinthians 15:19). The resurrection is essential, not optional. On the day of our baptism, we were given a “PAID IN FULL” receipt from God; a payment big enough to last us through this life and into the next.
For true followers of Christ, Easter is a time of rejoicing! Even God realized the resurrection would be a bit confusing for everyone, which might have been why He sent the angel of the Lord to hang out by the empty tomb so he could answer any comments, questions, and concerns (Matthew 28:1-10). But the scriptures clearly explain the purpose and significance of the resurrection. Here’s a list of a few items we find on our Resurrection Receipt:
1) Forgiveness from our sins. As Paul explains, had Christ not risen, our faith would be hopeless and we would remain in sin (1 Corinthians 15:17). On the flip side, if we believe Jesus is risen, our sins are forgiven when we are baptized and embrace the gospel (Acts 2:38).
2) Evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God. Romans 1:3-4 says, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, …declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
3) A promise that death in this life is not permanent. Read 1 Corinthians 15:21-23. Something even better awaits!
4) Proof that we serve a living God! Roughly 60 years after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to John on the island of Patmos and said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:17-18). Jesus also visited upon the land of America, and other lands as well (3 Nephi 16:1-3).
Have you received your “PAID IN FULL” receipt from the Lord? If you haven’t, remember, there is no expiration date on the offer. If you have, prepare your heart and tongue to give an Easter Sunday testimony overflowing with praise for the resurrection.