What Difference Does Easter Make?
Jesus Christ's resurrection can transform the way I live and the way I die.
Illustration: One of my favorite magazines is U.S. News & World Report. I like it because there's a section in there called "News You Can Use." I don't want to waste my time or your time, so we're going to talk about news you can use. I want to get right to the point. I feel like the chicken that decided to lay an egg on the California freeway. The rooster said, "Here's how you do it. You lay it on the line, and you do it in a hurry!" That's what I want to do tonight.
I want to ask two questions: Easter—what does it mean and why does it matter?
Illustration: A lot of people say, "I believe in the resurrection; I just don't understand it." George Gallup did a poll that said 84 percent of people who never go to church believe Jesus rose from the dead. It is historical fact; it wasn't done in secret. The whole city of Jerusalem and the whole Roman Empire knew about it. It was news. If CNN had been there, they would have had it live. There are at least 15 historical references to Jesus meeting people, touching people, and talking with people after he had been crucified. One time he cooked breakfast for some people. One time he talked to about 500 people after he had risen from the dead. A lot of people saw him.
But what does his resurrection mean? It means three things: (1) Jesus is who he claimed to be; (2) Jesus has the power he claimed to have; and (3) Jesus did what he promised to do.
The resurrection means Jesus is who he claimed to be.
John 11:25 says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." Jesus made some outrageous claims when he was here on earth. He said things like, "I'm God. I'm perfect. I'm the only way to heaven. I'm the savior of ...
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Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and author of The Purpose-Driven Life (Zondervan, 2002).