Need Help? Call Now

An Easter Lesson

An Easter Lesson poster

(Helpful to Sunday School Lesson of Easter 1920, Mark 16)

“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” This, and the occasion when Jesus spoke to Lazarus are the only records of Jesus using a loud voice. Both are in connection with death—one to bring a man from death, the other, in utter agony as He Himself enters into death.

We have, as a Sunday School lesson, the story of the resurrection, but I have purposely started with this agonizing cry of Jesus that we might go to the cross before we look at the open tomb. It is all very well for the world to be having Easter lilies, Easter hats, Easter adornment, and to be singing in glad chorus of the resurrection, but, beloved, the world knows nothing of the resurrection until it has been to Calvary. It is only those who have died with Christ, who have seen that that cruel cross was the gibbet on which they should have hung, the cruel torture which He suffered that which should have come to them, those who have seen Him dying in their own stead, who may partake of the resurrection,—and only those.

The world gladly sings of Easter, gladly paints its pictures of dawn, of chicks from the shell, of wee rabbits and bursting buds, gladly adorns its trellises with creeping vines, as if the resurrection were as natural as the bursting of seeds. The resurrection is not natural; it is supernatural. Death is the natural product of sin, and only those who have taken their death by substitution in Christ Jesus can be partakers in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The Stone was rolled away: for it was very great.” The women were puzzled as to who would roll away the stone, but found to their surprise that it was rolled away. An angel of the Lord was sitting on the stone. When a man has finished his work he sits down. The angel typified the finished work and was seated on the stone. It was rolled away by heaven. It was rolled away—not from the outside, but from the inside. The stone of the awful weight of our sin, the awful weight of the sin of the world which engulfs men in death will never be rolled away by the efforts of men, but only God, through the blood of Jesus Christ can take away that cold, clammy stone of death and give us life in its stead.

“Behold the place where they laid Him.” There was something peculiar about this place where He lay. If we had looked at the place where Lazarus lay there would have been no linen clothes, for they were wrapped about Lazarus and Jesus commanded that they be taken from him. His command was, “Loose him and let him go.” But these linen clothes that had been wrapped about Jesus were not unwrapped. The wording in the original language of the text in John’s Gospel shows that John is giving this detail to prove that Jesus had not been unwrapped, but that His body had come through the linen clothes, leaving them in their place, each where they were,—the napkin which had been about the head in the place where the head should be, etc. How wonderful is this detail! Looking at these linen clothes John says, “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.” He believed the resurrection because of seeing the linen, for he had not seen Jesus alive.

“Appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” How appropriate to appear in His Victory body to this woman who was a great tribute to His grace. Here was one He had snatched from the jaws of hell, in whom He had dethroned seven devils and Himself become her life. He makes His first appearance to a human heart that had been more depraved, in all probability, than all His disciples. He had formerly said to Simon, when the woman had washed His feet, that where there was much forgiven there was much love. To the one who had loved Him much because of His saving grace He first appeared.

“They trembled and were amazed.” The whole order of life had been changed: a dead man could come to life without the working of any human hand, and the disciples who had looked into the tomb were scared. I am sure the Lord would that those who look into this open tomb this Easter might not be calloused by the ceremonies of Easter might not be calloused by the ceremonies of Easter, but might tremble and be amazed at the marvels of the fact that He who died on Calvary sits in the glory, victor over death!

Do not allow yourself, this Easter, to be blinded by the unrealities of ceremonies, but see that He is to you a living, resurrected Christ.