This study on Christ’s walk to the cross and atonement comes to a close today, as we celebrate His resurrection and our salvation. As Christians, we are well aware of the significance of the event recognized by this annual holiday. When Christ died and rose again, He fulfilled God’s merciful plan for our redemption. He addressed our inability to atone for our sins personally, and He provided us with a specific process that grants us access to His forgiveness—accept Christ as our savior, confess and repent for our sins, and accept His pardon. When performed sincerely, these actions prepare the path for our walk to Heaven. What a glorious day Easter is, and what a wonderful gift it gives to us!
So we will provide a series of scriptural passages today in hopes that they will capture the true spirit of Easter for you, making this year a time of special connection for you.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered His words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.” (Luke 24:1-12, New Revised Standard Version)
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, Revised Standard Version)
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Revised Standard Version)
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews. 9:11-14, Revised Standard Version)
“You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake… For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:18-20 and 2:21-25, Revised Standard Version)
The following prayer of adoration and responsive prayer for Easter come from the Common Book of Worship. Read them out loud to make them more meaningful and present in your consciousness. Then lift up your own prayer of thanksgiving that Christ has risen and saved us from eternal damnation.
Prayer of Adoration
“Glory to you, O God: on this day you won victory over death, raising Jesus from the grave and giving us eternal life. Glory to you, O Christ: for us and for our salvation you overcame death and opened the gate to everlasting life. Glory to you, O Holy Spirit: you lead us into the truth. Glory to you, O Blessed Trinity, now and forever. Amen.
Responsive Prayer for Easter
O Christ, in your resurrection, the heavens and the earth rejoice. Alleluia! By your resurrection you broke open the gates of hell, and destroyed sin and death.
Keep us victorious over sin.
By your resurrection you raised the dead, and brought us from death to life.
Guide us in the way of eternal life.
By your resurrection you confounded your guards and executioners, and filled the disciples with joy.
Give us joy in your service.
By your resurrection you proclaimed good news to the women and apostles, and brought salvation to the whole world.
Direct our lives as your new creation.”
Book of Common Worship (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), p. 315.