Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Day is the most holy day of the Christian faith. It is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after His crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. It is the culmination of Holy Week, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Preachers should have no problem choosing a sermon to preach on Easter Sunday. It is all about rejoicing over the resurrection of Jesus Christ which simply is the concept of Jesus coming back to life after death and having been crucified three days before Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central focus of Christianity.
When people go to church on Easter Sunday they expect to be reminded of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Preachers miss a great opportunity to preach and teach on this important subject of redemption and salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ if they choose to preach something unrelated to what happened on this sacred day. To preach something else on Easter Sunday would negate what the gospel is all about: the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins; however, Jesus' mere dying does not guarantee us of salvation. The confession of our mouth along with the belief of Jesus' resurrection is what guarantees us of our salvation. Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
According to Romans 10:9, "God raised Jesus from the dead." When it is said that way, God is included in the process. To merely say, "He got up" somewhat waters down what exactly happened. To say, "He got up" could be equated with when He got up from sleeping as He did in the boat with His disciples. To say, "He got up" could be equated with when He was sitting among the multitudes teaching them as He did many times throughout the gospels. To say, "He got up" limits what really happened. That statement is indeed true, but it leaves many questions unanswered.
On the other hand, to say "God raised Him from the dead" tells us more. Jesus was crucified on the cross, but on the third day God raised Him from the dead clearly involves God in His plan of redemption. Surely, Jesus was the Son of God and could have gotten up on His own, but according to the scripture we must believe God raised Him from the dead.
The words "rise," "raised" and "risen" are more powerful than just "getting up." It gives the feeling of being lifted up more so than getting up. During Jesus' teachings He often referred to His dying and being raised from the dead. Jesus said Himself, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" John 12:32). He didn't say, "If I get up." Jesus included His Father in everything; even in His dying and being raised from the dead by Him.
One might think that embedded within the statement, "He got up" is the assumption that it was God who raised Him from the dead. With something as important as the resurrection, let's be clear and not leave anything up to assumptions.
It is a step in the right direction to believe "He got up," but let's also believe "God raised Him from the dead." Surely, you can believe "He got up" without believing God raised Him from the dead. However, you cannot believe God raised Him from the dead without also believing that "He got up!"