Oh wonder of wonders! He is risen! And the resurrection changes everything.
The resurrection of our God and Savior Jesus Christ is the centering doctrine of the Christian faith. By that I meant to say that it is the vital heart-beating truth that gives life and meaning to the rest of our faith. Without the resurrection, or by minimizing its startling claims, or reducing it to poetic metaphors for recovery or newness of life (both of which are, indeed, practical blessing of the resurrection, but not replacements for its physical reality), there can be no genuine Christianity. The early church spent a great amount of energy and decades articulating and defending the necessity of the literal resurrection of Jesus our Lord (e.g., the Nicene Creed first approved in 325 AD). Today, groups claiming to be Christian continue to express a faithless discomfort with the plain words of Scripture and the amazing life-changing power this event had on the disciples who had been with him and who saw him crucified.
On this Sunday we call Easter Sunday the Christian calendar calls us to re-calibrate our lives and our faith on the event that is the single most astounding occurrence in human history: a man who was dead now lives. He was not any man, but both God and Man at once, without ever mixing the two natures. He was not only raised, but seen by over five hundred at once. His appearances are documented as is his ascension. It is not a fairy tale. It is not myth. The One who was raised and who ascended is alive forever more. He promises life to all who will come to Him. Christ died to take away our sins as the Scriptures predicted. He was placed in a tomb.
“He was brought back to life on the third day as the Scriptures predicted. He appeared to Cephas. Next he appeared to the twelve apostles. Then he appeared to more than 500 believers at one time. (Most of these people are still living, but some have died.) Next he appeared to James. Then he appeared to all the apostles. Last of all, he also appeared to me” (1 Cor. 15:3-8 ESV).
Today, if you have never received Christ as your living Lord and Savior you may do so, right where you are. By faith, pray, “Lord I believe. Forgive me for my sin. Fill me with your Spirit. Help me, now, to follow you as your disciple.”
Let us worship the living God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Welcome Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome Easter. Welcome new life. Welcome spring. Welcome wonder.