This morning my husband said that if Christ has not been raised than what we are doing (gathering on a Sunday morning for worship) is a big waste of our time. If Christ didn't rise from the dead we should all just go home and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon, rather than rise early to be with God's people in worship. But as our other pastor so helpfully reminded us this morning, Christ did rise from the dead. He did exactly what he said he would do on that third day in the tomb. He got up, effectively conquering death once and for all.
I still remember the year that this really hit home for me. It was only two years ago. Even though I had been a believer for a number of years I had never faced an Easter where the hope of the resurrection carried so much power in my own life. My grandpa had passed away a couple of months earlier and I remember barely being able to get through "I Stand Amazed" without weeping. Prior to my grandpa's death the hope of the resurrection, while a crucial aspect of my faith in Christ, was only something I read about and talked about in general terms. This time it was real. It was my hope, that even though my grandpa died and was returning to dust, because of his trust in Christ I would see him again.
And then we lost our baby a few months later. In seven months time my understanding of the resurrection, and Jesus' conquering of death, went from paying lip service on Easter to a precious promise in dark moments of grief. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, than surely I (a grieving mom) should be most pitied. But he did rise. And the truth of his resurrection is the proof that my baby will one day rise as well. What a precious, precious promise.
As we've walked through more death, more sorrow, and more suffering in these past couple of years all that Jesus accomplished on the Cross and in his resurrection means more to me than ever. My tears, my loss, my pain, and most importantly, my sin will not have the last word in my life. Yes, Jesus overcame sin and death, but he also secured the hope of a brighter future. Colossians 1:18 says: "He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." His resurrection is the beginning of the new creation promised to us. By trusting in him, we are trusting that one day all will be made right. And oh, what a day that will be.
As we ate with friends this afternoon, I told everyone that I really think Easter Sunday should be our greatest time of feasting. For those of us in Christ, it's a celebration. It's an expectant anticipation that what we are celebrating now is only a glimpse of the glory that will one day be revealed. And I don't know about you, but I can't wait for that day. The resurrection is the stamp of certainty that all of God's promises are true, right, and good.
"Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won. Christ is risen from the dead. And I will rise when he calls my name. No more sorrow. No more pain. I will rise on eagle's wings. Before my God, fall on my knees and rise!"
He is risen. He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah!