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April 12, 2020
Then the angel spoke to the women.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He isn’t here!
He is risen from the dead,
just as he said would happen.
Come, see where his body was lying.
And now, go quickly and tell his disciples
that he has risen from the dead,
and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.
You will see him there.
Remember what I have told you.”
~ Matt 28:5-7
Nothing in human history or individual experience is the equal to the glory of the resurrection of our Messiah King. As we wake early on this Easter morning we who follow Jesus struggle to grasp the wonder of this once in human history event.
For me, I find myself wrestling with the reality of the original eye-witness reports: Jesus rose from the dead in a specific time and place. His resurrection was as corporally real as earth, rocks, trees and budding flowers. Jesus’ resurrection was and is the ultimate miracle; it’s simply astounding and mind-blowing!
Then I attempt to wrap my head around its significance, that the Christ who was crucified has been raised victorious over death and evil. In his raising Jesus was vindicated as the spotless Lamb slain for our sin, our perfect substitute in judgment.
Furthermore, I try to consider that in Christ reconciliation between God and Humanity has been achieved. The Father’s love for his wayward children, acting through his Son, has bridged our alienation against God. We can trust our souls to our Father God as we find shelter in his loving arms.
In addition to all this I find myself considering that day when I too will experience my own death. My earthly life will come to an end. But the grave will not be my final resting place. Because I will die in Christ I can trust that I will be given a new spiritual body in the resurrection to come.
The Risen Christ is our prototype as the scriptures affirm: In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died… everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.(1 Cor 15:20-24)
I anticipate participating in the final harvest to come! This is a mind-blowing, incredible truth, almost impossible to grasp, which is why I need assistance to comprehend it.
This is when I find it helpful to turn to writers far superior to me. One of my favorites is C.S. Lewis who retold the resurrection story through the character of Aslan, the Christ-figure, in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. As the tale draws towards its denouement Aslan has been stabbed to death by the cruel White Witch on the great Stone Table. Here’s the way Lewis continues the story:
At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise…. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice from behind their backs. “It is more magic.”
They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children… “But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”
Encountering the story of the resurrection through the tale of Aslan helps me grasp more fully the mystery and importance of the Risen Messiah King.
Today as we celebrate the Risen Christ may the Holy Spirit embed the truth of the resurrection deep in our souls. May Jesus’ life-givng power transform us into Easter people who show the marks of the cross while we still live in these mortal bodies awaiting the final resurrection to come.
Celebrating with all of you across Mission Northwest our Risen Messiah King and Savior on this Easter Day. ~ Charles Revis, Executive Minister
Therefore we have been buried with him
by baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
so we too might walk in newness of life.