The cross, sin, and repentance have never been popular terms even though they are at the heart of the Christian faith. Jesus Himself said that the cross would be offensive. Sadly, many today water down the gospel and avoid talking about the cross. They want the Bible to be more appealing and marketable. But truth is not marketable! We are to guard it, proclaim it, and defend it, but never compromise it.
There’s a passage in N. T. Wright’s masterpiece, “The Resurrection of the Son of God,” in which he describes two kinds of people who refuse to even consider that Jesus actually rose from the dead: “hard-headed historians and soft-headed theologians.”
There has been considerable controversy over the differences between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and their respective descriptions of what happened on Easter Sunday morning. But the differences are not discrepancies. In other words, all four accounts, in my opinion, are complementary and perfectly compatible with one another. When we compare and align the four gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, we derive the following ten truths.
1.The women who witnessed the crucifixion were committed to caring for Jesus
The first thing of importance for us to note is the commitment of several women who had witnessed the crucifixion and had helped in the burial of Jesus. They agreed to return on Sunday morning, after the Sabbath, to finish preparation of his body. Two women in particular, Joanna and Susanna, already had in their possession the spices needed to anoint Jesus (Luke 23:55-24:1). Early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome went to the market to purchase additional spices with which to anoint and prepare Jesus’ body. These spices were used to offset odors that resulted from decomposition.
The fact that they agreed to return to the tomb on Sunday indicates that they had no expectations of an immediate resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The pattern of the Christian year is an exercise of the Church’s discipline. The annual celebrations of Christmas and Resurrection Day force the Church to ponder again the truths of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection.
You can always tell that Christmas is coming, even before it’s close. Radio stations start playing Christmas carols before we’ve even eaten all the Halloween candy, and commercials beckon us to start our shopping before we’ve even bought our Thanksgiving turkeys. Our nativity scenes are set up for weeks, and our advent calendars keep us counting down to the day baby Jesus entered our world. Christmas isn’t celebrated on just one day-- it gets a whole, long season.
Easter on the other hand? Usually, Christians dress up for one fancy Sunday service and forget about it all days later.
“Why do we spend an entire season of the year thinking about and celebrating Christmas, but just a weekend thinking about and celebrating the impact of the resurrection,” Trevin Wax asks.