1. The Victory of Easter
The victory of Easter means we are empowered to live lives of obedience to God!
Every year, as spring emerges from winter and new growth blossoms around us, we celebrate Christ’s coming forth from the grave after three days in a tomb. But just as we might grow apathetic towards Spring after years of its dependable arrival, so we often lose our sense of wonder at the resurrection.
In our coolness, the pages of Scripture hold out third-day stories paralleled to Christ’s resurrection, casting light on the significance of Easter and warming our affections to its realities.
One of these third-day stories is found in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 22:4-6, we read:
On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
In this account, we see God call Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Abraham responds in obedience, taking his son, a knife, and some wood. Fully prepared to make the sacrifice, Abraham binds Isaac upon the altar. But when he raises his hand to kill his son, Abraham is suddenly stopped by the voice of God! God commends Abraham for his obedience and provides a ram for the sacrifice instead.
Abraham’s obedience stemmed from his trust in God to fulfill his promise of bringing a line of descendants through Isaac, despite the seemingly contradictory nature of God’s command. As Hebrews 11:19 says, “[Abraham] considered that God was able even to raise [Isaac] from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Abraham’s faith was met with the faithfulness of God when Isaac was figuratively resurrected on the third day.
From Abraham’s sacrifice emerges the reward of victory and blessing. God says to Abraham in Genesis 22:17-18. “Your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
Possessing even greater meaning than its immediate context, this story points forward to Easter, illuminating its glory! Isaac was spared only because of the true substitute sacrifice to come…
Just as Abraham surrendered his only son, so God the Father endured the agonizing pain of offering up his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.
Just as, by the death of a substitutionary ram, Isaac was figuratively raised from the dead, so Jesus became the substitutionary sacrifice in our place and rose from the dead on the third day.
And just as Abraham’s sacrifice led to victory and blessing, so Christ’s death and resurrection led to victory over sin and death and blessing for his children!
What does this mean for our lives? The victory and blessing embodied in Easter empowers us to obey God! Because Jesus conquered sin’s hold on us, we are able to choose God. And because Jesus blessed us with the gift of knowing God and his love, we are drawn to God over the allure of our sin.
As seen through both Abraham’s sacrifice and Christ’s death on the cross, obedience to God is always met with his faithfulness and reward. How might you respond to the victory and blessing of Easter with obedience today?