The First Easter Changed Everything
“A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.” (Luke 1:78, GW)
This Easter, hundreds of millions of people will wake up before daylight and attend an Easter sunrise service. In fact, Easter is the only holiday we celebrate at the break of dawn.
Why do we do this?
Because it was at the break of dawn, on a brand-new day, when his followers heard the news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead—and it changed everything.
The Bible says, “At dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay’” (Matthew 28:1-6 NIV).
Why is Easter so important?
Because it proved that Jesus Christ was telling the truth. Jesus made some outrageous claims. He claimed to be the Son of God and the only way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (NIV).
Many people throughout history have claimed to be God. But the difference with Jesus is that he was the only one who proved to be God. Jesus said, “I’m going to prove it. I’m going to die for the sins of the world, and three days later I’m going to raise myself back to life.” And that’s exactly what he did.
The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event of all time. It split history into A.D. and B.C. Now every time you write a date, you are using Jesus Christ as the reference point. Even your own birthday—the day, the month, and the year—is dated from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And it all happened on the dawn of a new day. Luke 1:78 says, “A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful” (GW).
Notice the word “merciful.” Over the next several days, we’re going take a closer look at God’s mercy and answer the questions: When do I need God’s mercy in my life? What happens when I accept it?
Talk It Over
Have you ever been part of an Easter sunrise service? What was it like to celebrate Easter at sunrise? If you’ve never been to an Easter sunrise service, plan on attending one this year.
Jesus claimed to be “the way and the truth and the life.” Which of these claims is most significant to you during this Easter season?
What evidence do you see that Jesus’ resurrection was the most important event of all time?
God wants you in his family
God made you to love you, and one of the places you see that most clearly is on the cross. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God made it possible for you to become part of his family for eternity. No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you’ve got a place in God’s forever family ready and waiting for you. The invitation is wide open. Just believe and receive.
Are you ready? Here’s a prayer you can start with:
“Dear God, I know when I die, I’m going to give an account of my life to you. I know I have sinned against you, and I have lived by my plan, not yours. I want that to change, starting right now. I want to turn away from my sins and toward you.
“Thank you for sending Jesus to die for all that I’ve done wrong so that I don’t have to pay the penalty. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I know only your grace can save me, Lord. I could never be good enough to get into a perfect place.
“Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you took all my guilt on yourself. You made me acceptable for heaven, and I humbly ask you to save me. I believe in you, Jesus. And I believe you will keep your promise to save me instantly, certainly, completely, and eternally. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
If you just prayed to accept Jesus, please email me at Rick@PastorRick.com and let me know about it. I’d like to send you some free materials to help you start your journey with Jesus.
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.