Shalom. May you grasp the depth of the resurrection and the message it has for our lives as it points us to the promise of eternal life that begins now and is fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
This was a response you were quite likely to hear in the early church as they placed the reality of Easter at the centre of their understanding. For the early followers it was more than the teachings and the miracles that attracted them to the message of Jesus – the evangel – the gospel – the good news; it was the resurrection centrepiece. For the Messianic Jews it meant that Jesus was the Messiah – the promised one – the anointed one – the chosen one – the Son of God; it was the fulfillment of prophecies, stretching back hundreds of years. In the book of Zechariah alone, the life and death of Jesus fulfilled many prophecies. For the Gentile and Jew alike, it meant that Jesus had conquered death! He IS risen!
Death was the final frontier, and still is. With medical science seeming to claw back from the grave many who once were as good as dead it seems that our ability to offer miracles come on a daily basis, yet there is always still that divine intervention, that spark of the eternal that medical science has failed to grasp or capture. We can do many things and we understand much, we can manipulate life, and even recreate it.
But we can’t define what it is that causes life to be. Maybe one day they’ll discover a ‘God gene’, (perhaps they already have, which will mean that Dan Brown can write another book!) but I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to make life from death.But Jesus can, and does. You see death can take many forms; there’s our physical death, the one where our bodies cease to function and this life as we know it ends, only to continue in a new way that as yet I don’t fully understand not having been there myself. But we face death daily when our goals aren’t met or our esteem is attacked, our reputation impugned, our hopes shattered, our dreams dashed. We face death each time we commit sin (Romans 6:23), so in many ways it’s surprising that we are so afraid of it. For in Christ we no longer need to fear death, as he has overcome the grave!
Paul grasped it well in 2 Corinthians 4 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
For the secret of the resurrection life is to embrace the death of Christ, so that we may go beyond it to discover eternal life. When our eyes are set on the eternal not the temporal we die to the things that seem important; materialism, prosperity, wealth etc… But it’s not the message of Christ but Christ Himself who our hope is in. His message – His good news; lives because He lives. It has the power to change lives because He has that power. It’s not some force moving through the world, but a person – Holy Spirit – who embraces and cares, understands and nurtures, leads and guides us and most importantly, introduces and reveals Jesus Himself.
None of it would be true or even matter if Easter didn’t happen. He is Risen!