Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

This week, we reflect on the death of our Savior. Then on Sunday, we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. I remember Easter in my house as a kid. Each of us five children would clamber down the stairs to get breakfast. As we entered the kitchen, Mom would cheerily chant, "He is Risen!" to which she expected the reply, " He is Risen Indeed!" If our response were not filled with enough enthusiasm, she would repeat the phrase till we got it right. We would roll our eyes as we slurped our cereal. "Not again!,"we thought.

Now that Mom has passed, I yearn to hear her Easter ritual once again. And, because of the sacrificial love of our Savior, who died so that we can enjoy life eternal with Him, I will hear Mom repeat this phrase when I see her in heaven. Better yet, I will proclaim that Jesus is Risen today, knowing that Mom is celebrating Easter in the presence of our Risen Lord.

When their brother, Lazarus, died, Mary and Martha were distraught that Jesus hadn't been with them to heal him. Lazarus lay four days decaying in the tomb when Christ finally showed up. Martha even reproached Jesus, telling Him that He could have prevented her brother's death. Now, she felt, it was too late to do anything but mourn.

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," she replied, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." (John 11: 17-27)

When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she most likely thought He was talking about seeing her brother when she too passed away. Yet, Jesus was telling Martha that she had the substance of all life and hope with her at the moment--in Him. Jesus confirmed that the victory over death is not a future expectation: it is present with us in our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. And through Him, we have victory.

"Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15: 55-57)

As we celebrate Christ's victory over death, may we respond like Martha: "Yes, Lord, I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God who came into the world (v. 27).

Happy Easter!  He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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