"What is the one single event that has most influenced and changed human history? The disciples of Jesus Christ have only one answer, which they proclaim without reservation, indisputably and absolutely: the dying and rising of God's only-begotten Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!"
So wrote Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington for his Easter Sunday homily. To my knowledge no one before Jesus Christ claimed power over death and no one has claimed it ever since. Sure, there have been plenty of self-proclaimed messiahs and saviors pushing their particular versions of the social gospel on their fellows, but none ever has claimed the power to lay down their lives and take them up again. Only Jesus Christ made and fulfilled that claim. We are the blessed beneficiaries of His labor of love.
I love Easter time. I love the reminder it brings that life should be filled with hope that regardless of how difficult it gets we have the promise that life continues beyond the grave and that all will be made right in the hereafter.
For his own Easter message, Pastor Chuck Worth of the True Word Christian Church in Franklin, Virgina, wrote,
"Everyone you know was born! Granted, Christ’s birth was miraculous, like no other. We should celebrate it. But there is only one man who ever walked this earth, died and rose from the dead to never die again. That man is Jesus of Nazareth."
In truth, were it not for the miracle of the first Easter Sunday, we wouldn't have any cause for celebration on Christmas day. So continues Pastor Chuck,
"...[O]n [Easter] Sunday morning the hope of every Christian was born. He arose! It is about much more than this singular event. In His resurrection we all have faith that death is not the end. We will one day rise just as He did. In Christ we have our hope of eternal life. In Christ we have the perfect sacrifice to complete the law of God, not do away with it. In His life we may all have life!"
In one of the greatest sermons on Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice that I have ever heard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of Christ's living apostles and witnesses said,
"Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, 'I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].'"
Now let me add my voice to the worldwide chorus of Christians who celebrate and sing praises to God for the incomparable gift of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. He does live! He is our hope and our joy. The price of discipleship is worth paying, for this is life eternal: that we might know God and Jesus Christ whom He did send. May the dying and rising of Jesus Christ most influence and change you as it has me. I wish you all a very joyful Easter Sunday.