What a wonderful, glorious truth, we are living on the Easter Side of Calvary! Just mediate upon that thought for a few moments! Oh, the thrill that it should bring to our hearts as we have the honor and privilege of proclaiming to the people in our spiritual care that He is alive! Preached in power, practiced with persuasion, posed with prayer! What grandeur! It drives into triteful insignificance, or at least it should, the discouragements of the heart, the hurts and differences in the church, the despair of daily events in the world. It brings hope where it is most needed – a knowledge of life after death! It brings joy when sorrows flow like the billows of the sea! It screams out to us from the corridors of time the written words of Christ…… “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19).
When Socrates was dying, his last words testified to the lack of the light of the resurrection. He pathetically cried, “I have faith in the future, and I think I see the golden islands, but oh, that I had a stouter vessel or a stronger word.” Well, we can stand in our pulpits with a stouter vessel and a stronger word. Why? Because we are living on the Easter side of Calvary! There is life because of the empty tomb. The poet has said it well:
I know it’s Easter time again, I feel it in the air.
The breath of spring with woodsy tang, and new life everywhere.
And spring glides on with magic touch, o’er mountain side and glen;
And wakens all the sleeping plants, for Easter time again.
When the puritan preacher John Owen lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend: “I am still in the land of the living.” But then Owen said, “Stop and alter that….I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” Isn’t that a wonderful truth for us and for our people? There is a better day before us, and all because the Lord Jesus Christ is risen and we are living on the Easter side of Calvary! Fanny Crosby said it this way:
Christ is risen, Hallelujah!
Gladness fills the world today,
From the tomb that could not hold Him,
see, the stone is rolled away!
Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!
Friends of Jesus, dry your tears,
Through the veil of gloom and darkness,
Lo, the Son of God appears!
The fact that Christ is risen brings at least five comforts to our hearts and promises to our pulpits:
- It truly means that Jesus Christ is the Son of God for no one else could ever do that!
- It verifies that what Jesus said in John 14:6 is true, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father but by Me.”
- It confirms that Jesus is greater than Satan. He promised that He would defeat him and He did!
- It affirms that what happened to Jesus Christ, will someday happen to everyone who is a believer.
- It gives hope to the lost that they can be saved and also live forever!
Warren Wiersbe once said, “Easter is the truth that turns a church from a museum into a ministry!” John Stott stated, “Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection. It was the resurrection which transformed Peter’s fear into courage and James’ doubt into faith. It was the resurrection which changed the Sabbath into Sunday and the Jewish remnant into the Christian Church. It was the resurrection which changed Saul the Pharisee into Paul the Apostle and turned his persecuting into preaching.” If it is the resurrection that transforms then it is the resurrection that we must teach and preach.
William Sangster, the great Methodist leader who helped guide Londoners through the horrors of the World War II bombings, fell ill to a disease that progressively paralyzed his body, and eventually his vocal cords. On the Easter just before he died, he managed to scribble this short note to his daughter: How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, “He is risen!” But far worse, to have a voice and not want to shout! Our call is not only to “shout” to our people that Christ is risen but also to make them want to shout too! All because we are living on the Easter side of Calvary!