Seven Easter Verses You May Have Missed

Scripture engagement that goes far beyond the holiday

Chances are, you’ll use those great go-to Bible verses for your Easter services. Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for a gardener. Peter and John racing to the empty tomb. The strange encounter on the road to Emmaus. Perhaps even Thomas’s displays of doubt and faith.

These are powerful accounts of a world-changing event. But the resurrection pops up in other Scriptures as well, in prophecy, poetry, explanation, and challenge. Here are seven less-used passages that might help tell the story this season.

1. Revelation 1:17-18

Jesus introduces himself to John as “the living one!” He announces, “I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead.” (Most quotes here are from the Good News Translation.) Everything else the book of Revelation brings us is built on the foundation of Christ’s identity as the living one who conquered death.

2. Psalm 16:8-11

This is one of many prophecies that function on a personal level and also on a Christological plane. The writer exults in the Lord’s presence—a common refrain in the Psalms—but then the psalm takes a life-and-death turn. “You protect me from the power of death,” he says, and then, “You will not abandon me to the world of the dead.” This passage provided Peter’s main argument for Jesus’s resurrection in his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:24-32).

3. Job 19:25-27 (NIV preferred)

Perhaps you’ve heard these words musically in Handel’s Messiah. “I know that my redeemer lives.” Is it a stretch to apply these words to Jesus? Not really; it’s the same dual focus we find in Psalm 16 and numerous messianic prophecies. Job, fielding the unjust accusations of his friends, longs for vindication. He’s hopeful—even confident—that his advocate exists and will someday “stand upon the earth.” Since this whole drama started in the heavenly courts, it’s no stretch to see this as heaven-sent redemption.

4. Jonah 2:1-7

The rebellious prophet launches a heart-felt prayer from inside the fish that swallowed him. “From deep in the world of the dead I cried for help, and you heard me.” Jonah’s story includes a kind of death and resurrection, especially considering that the sea itself was often a metaphor for death. Jesus himself referred to “the sign of the prophet Jonah” in connection with his own ministry, specifically mentioning the three days underwater (Matthew 12:39-41). Yes, there are significant differences: Jonah was paying for his own sins; yet Jesus was also paying for sin, just everyone else’s.

5. Philippians 3:10-11

“All I want is to know Christ,” the apostle says, “and to experience the power of his resurrection.” Who wouldn’t want that? But Paul knows that knowing Christ also means sharing his suffering. Perhaps he would even “become like him in his death.” This helps to explain why this prison epistle is so full of joy. Our suffering brings us closer to our crucified-and-risen Lord.

6. Colossians 3:1-4

There are several other passages in Paul’s writings that unpack the implications of the resurrection in the believer’s life—from the legal arguments of Romans 6 and 1 Corinthians 15 to the pastoral prayer of Ephesians 1—but he makes it very simple in Colossians 3. “You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God.” Resurrected with the risen Christ, we have a new kind of life to live.

7. 1 Peter 1:3-5

Here a different author plays the same theme. The resurrection of Jesus gives us new life. “This fills us with a living hope.” This passage (like Colossians 3) not only describes our current blessings, but also anticipates greater joys at Christ’s return. Aren’t we always trying to leverage the message of Easter from a once-a-year injection to a year-round reality? The resurrection doesn’t stop at that home in Emmaus—it’s just getting started.

So maybe you can email one of these seven Scriptures to your congregation every day for the week after Easter—or once every week until Pentecost. Feel free to use any of the descriptions in this blog post, or write your own. And keep exploring with your people the mystery of the resurrection: what it meant, what it means today, and what it means for our future.

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Randy Petersen
Randy Petersen

Randy Petersen is Director of Scripture Engagement Content for American Bible Society. Writer of more than sixty books and hundreds of church curriculum lessons, he has also served churches as a Bible teacher, small-groups coordinator, drama director, preaching consultant and softball pitcher.

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