Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb…the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”
--Matthew 28:1, 5-6
Easter Sunday is the chief holy day of the church year. It is more significant than Christmas, Pentecost, the Ascension, and Good Friday. On this day, the Church celebrates because Jesus (just as he said) conquered death. Death cannot hold Jesus. Jesus was dead for three days, then rose again to eternal life.
In the book of James, we are taught that the Devil knows that Jesus rose from the dead, but the Devil does not celebrate this fact. The Devil trembles because of the Resurrection.
This is quite a difference between the Church’s reaction and Satan’s reaction to the same event—the Easter Resurrection of Jesus. What is the reason for this difference?
Simply, faith makes all the difference in the world.
It is very interesting to know that a man from Nazareth was crucified and then rose again form the dead…but faith transcends mere intellectual acknowledgement. Because you have been given the gift of faith, the Resurrection becomes a celebrated event for you!
For you Jesus rose from the dead and gives you the hope of everlasting life. Jesus rose from the dead for you so that you would have the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus defeated the Devil for you. His perfect blood was shed for you. For you, Jesus has restored the relationship between you and your heavenly Father. Peace, wisdom, righteousness, and comfort are all for you and given to you.
Faith—which you receive by the Word and Sacraments—is like the hands that grasp on to all the riches of the Resurrection. By faith you take hold of them and make them all your own. Therefore, we celebrate with shouts of Alleluia, trumpets, and joy. Jesus has done it all perfectly and he has done it for you.
O God, for our redemption you gave your only begotten Son to the death of the cross and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of the enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned through daily repentance and that day by day we may arise to live before you in righteousness and purity forever; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.