“This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” (Luke 24:46 NIV)
Our tour group was assembled on tiers of benches in the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. We had completed a worship service with communion. As we tarried in our seats, a bus drove in, parking below the hillside where we sat. People thronged off the bus. Their beautiful singing ascended into the air, and while the language was not English, the tune was very familiar, from the glorious Gaither hymn, Because He lives. We joined in. We could not sing with their words, but we sang in our own language: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” It was a joyous occasion. We were from different countries and without a common language, but we were united in the faith that celebrates the risen Christ!
In our church liturgy at Easter, we often repeat these statements of faith: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the important key to our Christian faith. As believers, this is the source of the assurance of our forgiveness. It is the source of hope for a future life free from the sin and suffering that can assail us in this world. Hope carries us forward when times are tough. It gives us the courage to go on and not to give up.
Many years ago, a group of us attended a weekend conference that featured Joni Eareckson Tada as guest speaker. In her late teens, Joni had been in a diving accident that paralyzed her from the neck down. Seated in a wheelchair, braces supporting her arms, a small figure in the centre of a large arena, she touched our hearts as she sang and spoke of the Christian faith. Her life had been dramatically changed through the accident. But out of the depths of this terrifying experience, a woman of faith rose up to inspire others through her singing, her talks, her writing, and her art. Resurrection power was and is at work in her remarkable life!
When we live as followers of Christ, we are given assurance that when this life is over, we will go into Christ’s presence. Because Christ rose from the dead, we know that the power of God is such that He will raise believers into a new life when the time comes. This knowledge gives us power, for we know that the best is yet to be.
We are invited to follow Christ and live with faith in His resurrection power to lift us up and bring us through when life beats us down. We are called to a life of faith and hope here on earth, knowing that a glorious future awaits us in God’s presence. We know, because God’s power is revealed through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Prayer: God of mercy, You have demonstrated for us so wonderfully Your power through the resurrection of the Christ who was crucified to bring us salvation. May Your resurrection power work daily in our lives as we follow Your teachings. Enable us to inspire others through the lives that we live as Christians. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.