He is not here, but has risen!
(Luke 24:6a – ESV)
Easter has arrived. It is a time in which we see family and friends in church that we don’t normally get to see. What a blessing that is! It is a time in which little girls and boys show up with new clothes. Their little hats, bows, and ties are always a welcome sight. We also get to see their parents and grandparents whispering, “Sit still, it will be over soon.” Easter is a wonderful time in our church’s life.
The truly wonderful aspect of Easter is that we celebrate it on every Lord’s Day (Sunday). Yes, every Sunday is a celebration of what happened on that First Day, the ancient Jewish name for what we call Sunday, over 2,000 years ago. It was on the First Day of the week that Jesus, after giving up His life, rose from the dead. He physically rose up. He appeared to more than 500 people in His resurrected body. He was touched by, He spoke with, and He ate fish with several different people.
In our modern world, as in the ancient world, some people question if Jesus was raised from the dead. Even some in the church question this. They question whether He rose at all, much less whether His resurrection was a physical resurrection. Others question or disavow the notion that we, too, will be physically raised from the dead. Scripture is clear about the reality and nature of Jesus’ resurrection and our coming resurrection.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:12–19 – ESV)
Some, like the ancient Sadducees, believe that this life is all that we get. They see Jesus as a sort of religious mentor, one who came to teach us to get along and have a better life here.
Some, like the ancient Greeks and Romans, see our afterlife as one that is just experienced in spirit. They see the body as something that is just a vessel for our spirits. They believe that we are set free at our death never to be trapped in the flesh again. Others will say that Jesus was physically resurrected but that we won’t be. These individuals tend to believe that we go on as spiritual beings. In short, they have adopted the view of the afterlife that mirrors many, if not most, movies from Hollywood. They see the afterlife as being like that which the fallen Jedi, from the Star War movies, experienced in the “Force”.
Traditional Christianity has proclaimed and we have been assured by Scripture that we will experience a Resurrection like His. Yes, we too will be physically raised from the dead. My granddaughter, while visiting this past month and playing with a Resurrection Set, similar to a Nativity Set, explained what happened so long ago, “Poppa, Jesus came to save the day!” Indeed, He did.
“Christ is Risen!”
“Truly, He is Risen!”