1. Jesus’ Easter Text. In his account of the first Easter, John (who had a lot to feel guilty about) told of running to the tomb with Peter (who had even more to feel guilty about). Seeing the empty tomb, they suspected Christ was alive. But verse ten says, “As yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” Whenever we come across the word “Scripture” in the Gospels, we can substitute, “Old Testament.” None of the New Testament books had yet been written. Verse 9, then says, “They still did not understand from the Old Testament that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” Later that afternoon, two disciples were walking to Emmaus. Jesus appeared to them, but His identity was withheld. After engaging them in conversation, He “expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Later they said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (v. 32). Later that night, Christ “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (v. 45). Jesus wanted the disciples to understand from the Old Testament that He had risen from the dead. Very probably He quoted Psalm 16.
2. David’s Easter Text (Ps. 16:5–11). This psalm is clearly messianic. “Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; My body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon me to the grave, Nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (niv). Why do we think this is one of the passages Christ quoted to the disciples on the first Easter? Because it is a primary Old Testament prophecy about the Resurrection.
3. Peter’s Text (Acts 2:25–32). On that great day of Pentecost, Peter preached the first evangelistic sermon in church history. Look at the Old Testament text he highlighted: “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him . . .”—and he quoted Psalm 16, applying its truths to the risen Jesus of Nazareth.
4. Paul’s Text (Acts 13:32–38). This was also Paul’s text on the Resurrection. In his first recorded sermon, Paul quoted Psalm 16, explaining: “David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.”
That, then, is the implication of Easter for you and me. Jesus rose from the dead that our sins might be forgiven, that we might once again feel inwardly clean (Is. 1:18). When we come to the Risen Lord in repentance and faith, He forgives our sin, washes our hearts, and makes us new. That was David’s message. That was Christ’s message. That was Peter’s message. That was Paul’s message. And today, after all these years, it is our message. Will you receive it?
May God bless our sharing of the Easter message with all!
- Bro. Dave