What’s So Special About Easter Sunday?
This week two types of retail stores will see a rise in their sales: children’s clothing and candy. Yes, it is the week leading up to Easter Sunday. This Sunday children will be adorned in new clothes, little girls in pretty dresses and little boys in constraining suits. All concern for keeping new clothes clean will be discarded as the children rush around the yard hunting eggs that contain the sweet treasure of candy.
Another business of sorts will also see a rise in customers. It is the church. Individuals and families who do not regularly attend church will make time on Easter Sunday morning to attend a church service. Even regular church attenders will arrive at their church with an excitement for the church service that normally they may not have throughout the year, aside from Christmas.
All this leads to the question, what is so special about Easter Sunday? The answer is everything and nothing. Everything about Easter makes Easter Sunday special. And, nothing about Easter makes Easter Sunday special.
Everything is Special About Easter Sunday
Everything is special about Easter Sunday because it is a Sunday that the church celebrates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
Because Jesus is raised from the dead, the church celebrates in his victory. Humanity lies under a curse. It is the curse of sin. The curse of sin is death. This curse was brought upon humanity when Adam, the first man, disobeyed God. God warned Adam that if he ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that he would die. Adam ate the forbidden fruit and brought death upon himself and the whole of humanity. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned,” (Romans 5:12, ESV).
But thanks be to God that Jesus has overcome the curse of sin. On what we call Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday) Jesus was nailed to a cross. While on the cross, God the Father placed the sin of his people upon his Son, Jesus. Jesus accepted the curse of our sin. He died. He died in our place. That is what sin deserves. Later that day, Jesus’ dead body was removed from the cross and laid in a tomb. But he would not remain under sin’s curse. God the Father raised Jesus to life. This act of resurrection proves that Jesus has victory over sin and death. On Easter Sunday, the church sings out, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Corinthians 15:54–57, ESV).
Because Jesus is raised from the dead, the church celebrates his intercession. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he ascended back to his Father in heaven. And what is he doing there? The apostle Paul says, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us,” (Romans 8:34, ESV). That Jesus is ‘interceding for us’ means, in part, that he is the guarantee, or assurance, of salvation. For all who have placed their faith in Jesus for forgiveness of their sin are eternally saved because Jesus ever lives to make intercession for them. And because their sins are forgiven, Christians have access to their Creator through Jesus their intercessor. On Easter Sunday the church sings out, “Jesus is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:25, NLT)
Because Jesus is raised from the dead, the church celebrates his return. Jesus is seated in heaven. And, Jesus will return. He will return to gather his people to himself. He will return to establish his kingdom on earth. He will return to transform this creation into the new heaven and new earth. This is the blessed hope of Christians, the return of their King. On Easter Sunday the church sings, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8, ESV).
Everything is special about Easter Sunday because Jesus has changed everything.
Nothing is Special About Easter Sunday
Nothing is special about Easter Sunday because every Sunday the church celebrates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Every Sunday the church rests in Jesus’ victory, gathers under his intercession, and looks to his return.
To say Easter Sunday is more special than another Sunday is like saying a one-hundred-dollar bill is more valuable than another one-hundred-dollar bill. Every Sunday is just as valuable as every other Sunday. Throughout the year we must be careful not to elevate just one Sunday out of the year and diminish all the other Sunday’s. The joy we have on Easter Sunday is the joy we must have the Sunday after Easter. The importance we place on Easter Sunday is the same importance we must place on the Sunday after Easter.
If this sounds odd, or worse, like heresy, it may be that the modern-day church has actually devalued the resurrection. The resurrection has become something only worth celebrating one Sunday a year. It may be that the modern-day church has devalued corporate worship. Corporate worship has become something of an inconvenience during the day’s activities. It may be that the modern-day church has devalued Sunday, the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day has become just another Saturday for amusement, sports, and hobbies.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is too great an event in redemptive and world history to celebrate only one Sunday a year. The Jewish Christians of the first-century church understood this. They actually changed their day of worship, the Sabbath Day, from the last day of the week, Saturday, to the first day of the week, Sunday. This change was due to Jesus being raised from the dead on the first day of the week. The Light of the world dawned from the darkness of the grave to shine upon his people. When the church gathered, they celebrated the new creation Christ brought by his resurrection.
So, come to church this Easter Sunday recognizing the importance of the day and what it celebrates. Come to church this Easter Sunday with great excitement and joy. But then, go to church the Sunday after Easter with the same excitement. Go to church the Sunday after that, and every Sunday of the year, with the same joy and anticipation.
Steven has been Senior Pastor at FBC Canyon since 2011. He is married to Jayme, and they have two children, JP and Reagan. Steven completed his undergraduate work at West Texas A&M, his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a PhD through Midwestern Theological Seminary. In his free time Steven enjoys sitting down with a group of guys at a local coffee shop discussing 17th and 18th century theological writings.