Well let's first take a look at our reason for the Easter celebration. Now I'm not talking about the pagan roots for it is early morning for me right now and I don't want to take the time, what I'm talking of is our traditions of today that says we celebrate Easter as the time when Christ rose from the dead to take away the sin of the world and destroy the power of death. This is the tradition I am talking of.
Now is this a loose tradition based on some story from antiquity, or maybe a mythical story, or maybe even a lie put forward by the followers of some man who lived 2000 years ago? We must first ask ourselves if a tradition would really last for 2000 years if the man it was based on died and did not rise from the dead. Many men have died since the creation of the world, a few were brought back to life but died again later, and two never died, but have traditions sprung up from these people that have lasted through the ages? No. So what is so special of the Christ that would bring a tradition lasting 2000 years? Perhaps it has something to do with the reality of the event and its purpose.
A man raising himself from the dead and walking about for several days being seen by many and doing amazing things like walking through locked doors would certainly leave a lasting impression on the lives of those who saw him. To see such a thing would almost certainly leave a "tradition" lasting many centuries. A lie of a stolen body would die off with the first martyr. Who would willingly die for a lie? No, the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour could only have been a real historical event. It really did happen, and all other theories hold no water. A man beaten as badly as Jesus was and crucified by those who know the art like the back of their hands most certainly was dead, not fainted. And I would like to see even a healthy man bound in cloths like a mummy get up and push a several thousand pound stone away from the door of his tomb from the inside and then somehow get passed an armed guard of elite soldiers. If a healthy man could not do this then I am sure a severely beaten man could not. Even in scripture God made it clear that Jesus was dead. Pilate asked in Mark 15:44-45 if Jesus was in fact dead and it was confirmed. The bible leaves no doubt.
So why would Jesus die? He had to die. Without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins. This was not some back-up plan God had devised from Adam's mistake in Eden. To suggest such a thing would be to imply that God did not know the future choice of Adam. No, God knew and yet He chose to create us and love us still even through all our mistakes and rebellion. But He had to have a way of restoration. Being Holy He could not have sin in His presence so He devised His plan of salvation from before time ready to redeem His creation upon its corruption. Wow, God you are awesome!
And Jesus had to rise to life for the only way to defeat death is to break its hold by rising to life. Jesus showed His power by raising Himself from the grave. Death must be defeated because it is an intruder. God does not die and He is the giver of life. Death was not part of God's design but instead is a punishment and result of our sin. It must be defeated. God alone has the power to defeat death as He is the giver of life. He brought man from the dust of the ground. Dust does not breathe, or have life, so life could only come from God. And He breathed into the man the breath of life and man became a living soul.
So God gave life, man removed ourselves from God by rebellion, so God restored our life by sending His son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins by dying for us and then defeating death by rising to life. Only God could do this, and it has been done. The cross is empty and rotting somewhere. The tomb is empty. He is not here, He is risen, just as He said, Matthew 28:6. Happy Resurrection Day.