As we embark upon the holiday weekend, I want to explain why every believer should understand why Easter is far greater than Christmas. It seems that the two times every year that every edifice called a church building is packed to the gills with people coming to celebrate the life and death of Christ are Christmas and Easter.
While it is great that we celebrate Christ’s birth, just as we celebrate our own births regularly with birthday parties and celebrations with family and friends, we must understand that something far greater happened when Christ died, than when he was born.
His death finished what his birth initiated.
He accomplished more in His death than in His birth.
His death initiated something far greater than his birth ever could.
The Final Sacrifice
For years the religious leaders placed burdens far too heavy to bear upon backs of the people. Some 613 laws loomed over their heads on a regular basis. Sacrifices were required on numerous occasions for countless scenarios. Christ came to be the final sacrifice to fulfill the law. In his final words on the cross Christ utters the words,
It is finished.
The system that burdened the people; the countless sacrifices; the continual working to maintain right standing was finished. The eternal expression of God’s love made flesh, was poured out for all mankind. He became the propitiation for our sake.
He did all this for the sole purpose of reconciling man unto himself. His death was the atonement for our sins and missing the mark on what God had intended for His creation. Christ filled the divide that separated man from God. Which brings me to my next point.
The New Temple
Upon his death, the moment life left his body, something changed for all eternity. Matthew 27:50-51 tells us,
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
In the time up until this point, God’s presence was manifested in the temple, and more specifically the Holy of Holies. But, that all changed! The curtain was rent from top to bottom as a sign that God’s presence was now open to all men, and not just a select few.
And, we can read in Acts, Romans, Ephesians, Corinthians, Colossians, and basically the entire New Testament that the new temple is you and I. Christ now dwells within the believer by power of the Holy Spirit.
We are living stones that are being built into a spiritual house made of flesh (see 1 Peter 2:5). We are the literal RE-presentation of Christ to the world around us. Christ’s death is what initiated this change to fulfill that which God intended from the beginning, to build up a family and a home that he could reside and dwell.
Our Future Hope
Christ’s birth signified that things were about to change. His birth signified that God was now with us, Immanuel. But His death is what fully initiated this change.
You see since the Garden and the fall death has entered man. God told Adam,
but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.
He did not mean that he would die that day, rather death would enter the scene. And we would begin to die, but again all of that changed in Christ’s death.
It is not that Christ died that is our great hope, but rather it is the fact that He was resurrected. The tomb is EMPTY!! Revelation 1:8 tells us,
and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
Christ defeated death! Our flesh will still die one day, but we have a greater hope. The ultimate Christian hope is that we will one day be resurrected in like manor as Christ. Christ went before us to show us what was to come. He is our spiritual Adam. We will go to heaven for a bit, but we will be resurrected and made new to rule with Him, when the heavens and earth are made new.
Are these the only things that happened at Easter that make it greater than Christmas? By no means, as Paul would declare. But, they lay a great foundation for showing how the work that was accomplished on the cross far exceeds that of what happened in the manger. You see Easter is FAR greater than Christmas!