“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
A business owner met with his banker and announced he had good news and bad news. First, the bad news. He said, “I can’t make payments on the money your bank loaned my business. I can’t make my mortgage payment, either. And I can’t make the payments on that new truck I bought for my business. I ‘ll have to give you my business, my home, and my truck. You’ll have to sell it all and get what you can from the proceeds.” The banker asked, “What’s the good news?” The business owner said, “I’ll continue to bank with you.”
In a world of bad news, we all could use some good news. The words at the top of this post come from the apostle Paul, an early Christian missionary. He said he wanted to remind his readers of “the gospel.” The word literally means “glad tidings” or “good news.” These verses from 1 Corinthians 15 are a summary of the gospel message. We could even say these words summarize the Christian faith.
Easter Is Good News Because It Shows God’s Love for You
Note the words “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Jesus died on a Roman cross, death by crucifixion. The Romans literally nailed a person to a wooden cross. The cross was then dropped into a socket in the ground. Lastly, the cross was stood up, and the victim hung on it experiencing indescribable pain. Crucifixion was a horrible form of punishment.
So, why did Jesus die like that? He died, says our Bible verses, “for our sins.” These words remind us of our offenses against God, all the times we have not kept God’s standards of right and wrong. Our personal sin incurs a severe penalty. Romans 6:23 expresses that penalty: “For the wages of sin is death” (separation from God).
Yet, even in our sinful condition Jesus willingly died for us. Why? He loves us like crazy, for one thing. But another is that Jesus’ death made possible the forgiveness of our sins. When we believe (committed trust) in what Jesus has done for us on that cross, we can be saved from the penalty of our sins. This is the good news of Easter.
Easter Is Good News Because It Shows God’s Commitment to You
Our Bible verses go on to say, “he was buried.” Isn’t it obvious that if someone dies his or her body would be buried? I believe the Scriptures make a big deal about Jesus being buried for 2 reasons.
First, the burial of Jesus showed the reality of Jesus’ death. He died. His death is a historical event, not a myth. Second, His burial was the prelude to His resurrection from the dead. The empty tomb was even more vivid because of His burial. His burial refutes the myths that Jesus’ followers stole His dead body or that the women went to the wrong tomb. God has made a commitment to us that the Christian faith is rooted in history and fact.
Easter Is Good News Because It Provides Hope for Life After Death
“He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The cross appeared to defeat Jesus. But His powerful resurrection from the dead says that evil, hate, and death do not have the last word. God has the final word.
God showed His amazing power in raising Christ from the dead. But there’s more. Because God raised Christ from the dead, He will raise us from the dead as well. Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead never to die again. We will be raised to live with Jesus eternally (if we have asked for the forgiveness of our sins and trusted Him) or we will be raised to live eternally separated from God (if we have said no to Jesus).
If we need evidence to believe the truth claims of Christianity, then all we have to do is consider Jesus—His death, burial, and resurrection. These historical facts are the good news and the hope of the world.