Jesus manifested his resurrection power by stepping out of a tomb after being dead for three days and three nights. It proved that he was the true Son of God (John 2:19; 20:31).
This is where the Passion plays and Easter pageants end.
This is where Paul’s gospel begins.
Paul was busy persecuting the apostles of the empty tomb when he was dramatically confronted by the risen Lord.
The risen Lord appointed Paul to preach the exceeding greatness of the resurrection power of Christ.
“[know] what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…” – Eph 1:19-20
Faith in the Resurrection
According to what the Lord told Paul, the resurrection became more than proof of God manifest in the flesh, it became part of the gospel, and necessary for the salvation of all men.
The resurrection justifies, according to Paul’s gospel (Rom 4:25). Without it our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins (1 Cor 15:17).
If the resurrection is now part of the faith we preach, what does that say about the faith of the apostles during the Easter pageants?
“And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” – Mark 16:11
The only conclusion is that they were believing a different gospel. Their faith was not in the resurrection.
But now we know the important part resurrection plays in the gospel that saves. God could not grant eternal life if Jesus Christ were still dead.
When the Lord rose from the dead He secured His sufficient and complete payment for sins, and righteousness and life to all that believed.
Exceeding Great Power
The power of the resurrection did not stop there.
Resurrection works in us now, transforming once dead bodies, into living servants of the Lord who are raised into heavenly positions (Eph 2:5-6).
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” – Rom 8:11
Paul did not preach resurrection merely as a miracle performed by Christ in Jerusalem. He preached the mystery of the resurrection working in every empty tomb even now. You are the empty tomb.
The power of God in the gospel is the power of the resurrection working in you to salvation.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…” – Gal 2:20
What is Missing from Easter Pageants
Easter pageants end with an empty tomb. Our preaching of the power of Christ’s resurrection begins with one.
Christ in you, the hope of glory, is the subject of the mystery the Lord revealed to Paul after the events depicted in the Passion plays.
“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” – 2 Tim 2:8
The greatness of the resurrection was not yet revealed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from which the scripts for Passion performances are taken. What is missing from the pageants is preached by Paul.
This is why preaching Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery is so important, especially around Easter.
The gospel for today is what came after, not what came before the resurrection of Christ. Easter pageants present the preface to the resurrection, while we are told to preach the powerful product of resurrection in the mystery of Christ.
If Christ is in you, you can know more than that Christ resurrected, you can have the exceeding greatness of His resurrection power working to raise you up.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” – Col 1:27