(Image of the Resurrection courtesy of Vultus Christi blog.)
Churchmouse Campanologist‘s 2009 post was entitled ‘Easter: the greatest feast in the Church year’.
Would that every day were Easter — that hope, that joy, that promise! My 2009 post explains why. This year, I would like to add thoughts on the Resurrection from those much more learned than I:
Michael Horton (Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary California):
It is only the Resurrection that finally gives us our way into the truth about everything. If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then everything else he promised will come to pass. That is Paul’s argument for the coming judgment. If Christ rose from the dead, then everything else he said is true.
The Revd Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor):
The Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, whose body was buried in the tomb, on the third day rose, bodily, from the dead. And all this was according to God’s plan, according to the Scriptures God had inspired his prophets to write centuries earlier. This is first and foremost, “of first importance,” in the gospel that Paul preached and that we continue to preach still to this day. “First Things First.”
Without these great facts, and without them at the forefront, there is no Christianity. There is no gospel. There is no hope. There is nothing to preach, nothing to believe. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul says later in 1 Corinthians 15, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” And again, “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” It’s all riding on Christ actually being raised from the dead, physically, bodily. If not for that, there’s nothing there…
Since Christ has indeed been raised, then he is telling the truth in everything he says and the gospels are the true record you can rely on. “He is risen, just as he said,” and “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Since Christ has indeed been raised, then you are not still in your sins, you are not lost. Christ’s resurrection validates and puts God’s stamp of approval on everything Jesus did when he bled and died there on the cross. God accepted Christ’s sacrifice for sin, said yes to it. By raising Jesus from the dead, God the Father said of his death on the cross, “Yes, my Son, that does the job, that covers all sins for all time. Job well done. The debt of sin for humanity has been paid, paid in full.” Easter, Christ’s resurrection, says yes therefore to your forgiveness. What Jesus did on Good Friday covered all of your sins, dear Christian. Your faith in Christ is not futile, not by a long shot. Your faith is fruitful, not futile, and you are freed from your sins …
And since Christ has indeed been raised, then death is not the end of the story for you. There is something more in store. Death is not the end of the line for those who die in Christ. By his being raised from the dead, Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” meaning, there are more to follow. Your loved ones who have died in the faith, all the great saints of the past and all the unknown saints too, you and I and all who put their trust in Christ–we will not be disappointed. For you and I–our mortal bodies will be raised at the Last Day, new and glorious, and fitted out for eternal life. In Christ we have new life in this life, yes, but beyond that, we have hope, sure hope, for the life to come. Therefore we are of all people, not the most to be pitied, but rather the most abundantly blessed.
Deacon Keith Fournier (Roman Catholic):
Through His passion, His obedience unto death, and His Resurrection, He welcomes us into the very inner life of the Trinity. In Him we make our home in God. In His sacred humanity He transforms the entire human experience. He invites us to live differently and shows us the path to peace, this way of the fullness of life now and eternal glory in the new world to come. The veil of the tabernacle has been torn. His flesh has become the bridge between heaven and earth. He has opened eternity to all who were bound by the chains of time. He has clothed in glorious freedom those once wrapped in the grave clothes of death. He has given eternal purpose to the sheep who had wandered aimlessly in empty self pursuits …
When we embrace the implications of that empty tomb we begin to live in eternity, even now. We understand that He holds the future – our future and the future of this whole world that He still loves- in those wounded, glorified hands. The events that we remembered and celebrated during these Holy Days provide a lens, a “hermeneutic” of meaning for everything that happens in our daily lives. Even suffering and loss have beauty and irreplaceable value – redemptive, life transforming value- when we choose to follow the One who has been raised. The world is bathed in the newness of Easter.
Happy Easter. The tomb is empty.
A very happy and joyous Easter to all readers. May we keep the meaning of the Resurrection alive in our hearts and minds, not just today but every day. Our Risen Saviour, Christ our Lord, lives and reigns forever.