It is hard to find the proper words to express our thankfulness to the Almighty God for Jesus’ resurrection. The eyewitnesses of this miracle reported that the Father raised the Son from the dead, (1Co 15:1-8). Soon after this the news of Christ’s resurrection was resounded into a slogan, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” It was kept on running from mouth to mouth for centuries, without ceasing, until the last disciple will be called up from earth into heaven. And when the last among us will be taken, there will be no one who proclaim Christ’s glorious resurrection to the people in the pews. There will be no one person who will tell faithfully, Christ is risen! And there will be no one who will believe that He is risen indeed. As to speaking of our society, the mentioned dramatics can be seen with our own eyes.
Several days ago, when surfing the Net, I found the list of 2012 Christian Easter greetings posted by some Christians on “Holiday Messages” website. Among those messages, Christ’s resurrection was not mentioned even one time! The most posted greetings come out with the promises of the new hope, new joy and new aspirations. Here is an excellent example of the case – “May the Lord bless you on this auspicious day of Easter, and May it be a new beginning of greater prosperity, success and happiness. Wish you a Happy Easter!” As you can see from this pattern of a common wish, some Christians lay stress upon the worthless things in contrast to eternal treasures.
The secular society has already made its considerable contribution helping Christians to forget the sacred meaning of Easter. “And worst of all,” said columnist Logan Masters, that when she was young, she “truly believed rabbits bore eggs.” Then she provided a definition of Easter Sunday, writing, it “… means one thing for Americans: the Easter bunny is going to bring huge amounts of chocolate, candy, plastic eggs, marshmallow Peeps and neon green synthetic grass enclosed in a pastel colored woven basket. Hallelujah, Christ has risen!” Here we note that the statement regarding Christ’s resurrection is not the confession of the faithful, rather it is an enjoyable reflection on what people made for themselves and what they expect in return. Thus, the kids expect a basket filled with goodies delivered from the Easter Bunny, their parents’ expectations are centered on the well-being of God by means of “easy believism,” and as for the homebound people who are not kids or parents there is still a blessing available on TV. Finally, all people are happy and are in fine feather.
So, what should we say about Easter as an alternative from the secular fantasy? Taking seriously, the first thing in the discussion we need to center on our own death. There are several ideas on this matter. For example, according to the scientific understanding of death, it is the negation of all meanings including our Easter. Death reigns within all-living beings in agreement with the long observations – no one came to life after death. Therefore, based on those experiences, the scientists prove that the resurrection of Christ is a myth as much as this phenomenon has never been observed. Here we have to agree that it is impossible for anyone to rise from the dead. Truly, it is impossible for any person to come to life by himself. In this case, Jesus, who is the perfect Man, yet the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, has the keys of Death and Hades, (Rev 1:18)! Even though he died on the cross, yet death has reigned over his physical body only for a short time. The Scripture says that Christ gave up his earthly life voluntarily (Joh 10:18) for the benefit of all who will believe in him and may have eternal life in his name, (Jh 20:31). Yes, it is impossible for us to come to life after our death, but there is nothing impossible for God who had promised to bring us back to life on the last day. Believing in Jesus, we become the partakers of his resurrection, if we became the partakers of his death as well.
Now, let’s say briefly how Jesus laid his life down, and how he took it back. The first part of our salvation was accomplished on Golgotha, as we know, the place where Jewish leaders crucified their Messiah by the hands of the Romans. While being in great physical pain caused by nails and bodily injuries, the experts in the law and elders were mocking him: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!… ” they said, (Mat 27:42). Around three o’clock Jesus cried out to his Father with a loud voice; and soon after he said, “It is finished.” Later, this phrase was understood as the accomplishment of our redemption from the grave, once and forever!
Next is about how Jesus took his life back based on the text from (Mk 16:1-8). Accordingly, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome proceed to the tomb where Jesus was laid on Friday. They had approached the holy place at earliest dawn on the first day of the week bringing sweet spices. But soon they discovered some amazing things. First of all, the large and heavy stone was removed from the entrance of the tomb by unseen hands. Next, after entering into the tomb, they saw an angel in the likeness of a young man dressed in a white robe. As they saw him sitting in the tomb, they were affrighted. Fear not, said the man, You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him, (v7). It was the most important discovery ever made by women and men. People didn’t find what they looked for. Unfortunately they were not scientists but soon they boldly witnessed to the apostles about what they had seen and heard, (Luk 24:22,23). He is not in the tomb, they cried out, He has risen! And all the congregation of heaven responds, Yes! He is risen indeed! Surely that was the most greatest and joyful discovery of all ages!!! Alleluia.
Thinking of the importance of Christ’s resurrection, we must come to the conclusion that it is because along with Christ’s coming back from the dead, his promises came back as well! Trying to recall something of what Jesus taught about the resurrection from the dead, we have remembered what Jesus told Martha whose brother Lazarus died four days before their talk. In the woman’s understanding, her brother had to be raised on the last day. But in that particular hour Jesus demonstrated his divine power ahead of time, so that the following generations would not doubt his divinity but believe in him and be comforted. Martha, said Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (Joh 11:24). Shortly after, he commanded to the dead man, “Lazarus, come out.”
Friends, you can play this event in a virtual level imaging yourselves in a tomb. On a certain day the Lord will call us by our personal names, “John, Mark, Peter, Mary, Martha, come out.” And those dead who had faith in Christ Jesus will come out from their tombs with Lazarus. As for the rest of the dead, they will not come out at the first resurrection, but in the appointed time when they will be judged according to their deeds. And those whose name were not found in the book of Life will be condemned with the devil, (Rev 20:15).
Isn’t it true that all good things must end. Yes, it is. On the other hand, for those who keep the eyes of faith on Jesus this slogan is not true. As well as it was not true for a soldier who lost his life at the battle of Inkerman, on November 5, 1854. It says that the soldier was just able to crawl to his tent after he was struck down. When found, his comrades saw him lying on his face with the open Bible in his hand. The hand was glued fast to the page by man’s lifeblood. When it was taken out of the Book, the letters of the printed page were clearly traced with the ever-living promise in and on his palm, The words were “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.
Oh, what gloom and darkness would settle upon this world, if there would be no words of Jesus about our resurrection! Yes, Jesus rose from the dead, and he will never die. Then, if he lives, can we live too? Thanks be to God, the morning of our resurrection will break as well. For a little while and the faithful will behold their Lord in his glory coming down to receive His own, whether they be living or dead.