In the month of April we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We take time to look at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his death on the cross, and then at first light, the resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter morning. It seems that many times we focus on the cross and sacrifice of Jesus throughout the year but not so much the resurrection. The reality of that moment changed human history from that point forward. Death did not have the final say, and life could be lived with assurance that these days were not all that there was to life.
Understanding the resurrection and allowing the reality of it to sink into our personal and congregational lives are two different things. This event should be transformative to our living. Jesus was God born in the flesh, lived as an innocent man, yet suffered and died as a criminal for our sins, but the victory is in the empty tomb. If the cross was the end what a bleak picture, but the victory over death at the empty tomb should give us courage to live daily for Christ, knowing there is nothing in this world that can separate us from his love.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, we acknowledge the season of Lent, a time of preparation for the crucifixion of Christ. Often times this build up includes special services, music, dramas, and the focus is on his sacrifice and resurrection, as it should be. However, during the appearances of Christ after the resurrection and before he ascended, he both confirmed his resurrection to those whom he appeared and gave them instruction for the days ahead.
The instructions included feeding sheep, tending lambs, making disciples, baptizing, teaching, obeying, and to be comforted by the promise of his presence. The promise of his presence has been confirmed in the resurrection, that not even death could separate them or us from Christ. This is the victorious life of the resurrection. One another occasion they are instructed to remain together, until the gift of the Holy Spirit comes to them, in the Spirit there is power. The authority or power is to be his witnesses not just of the death of Christ but his resurrection as well from the local places to the ends of the earth.
It is my prayer that churches all over the world Easter Sunday will see themselves as part of the resurrection community. As part of the resurrection community we will seek to follow the instructions of Jesus, and live out our lives in faith and community together, witnessing to the resurrected Christ who changes hearts and lives. The resurrection of Christ is not just an event to be celebrated but a continuing reality through which we live. May we be faithful to live out the resurrection of Christ together, as his witnesses in the world today.
CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!