He is Still Risen (Indeed)

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It's the week after Easter. I'm preparing for another “normal” Sunday worship service. I love seeing the joy of worshippers who gather on Resurrection Sunday to exalt King Jesus, celebrate his resurrection and focus on our living savior. Perhaps it's because the first fruits of Spring are peeking through the dirt, still half frozen from Winter, a significant achievement given the severity of Northeast Ohio weather. Maybe it's because we can actually see the sun, color is returning to the landscape and the birds are finally singing. Or maybe it’s just a sugar buzz from Easter candy. Whatever the cause, we seem to have an extra portion of gladness on Easter.

I’d imagine for most pastors, it’s both a joyful and stressful time. Easter services tend to require a bit more preparation than others. We expect visitors and want to leave the best possible impression. We work hard to present the resurrection faithfully but in a fresh and meaningful way. The goal is lofty: that those who haven’t met the savior would receive him and that those who know him would stand amazed again at the wonder of his resurrection, perhaps renewing commitments to his kingdom. Personally, after the final song ends and I head home for a short break before Easter dinner with family, the joy remains but the stress fades to weariness. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity Easter service presents, but I also breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finished and everything went pretty well.

The significance of this annual celebration is as simple as the event it recognizes: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is the culmination of Christ’s cause to satisfy the demands of righteousness and pay the just penalty of our sin. The resurrection is the Grace-Giver’s final word on death and the grave whereby he removes their sting once and for all. The day dedicated to its celebration is so meaningful, because without the resurrection we remain spiritually bankrupt before God, for Christ is not who he claimed to be lest he rose from the dead as he foretold.

This is why Paul says that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, we above all are to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:19). And that’s why I say we ought to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every day. Have we ever a true reason for sorrow when the Son of God sits at the right hand of the Father always living to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25)? The author of Hebrews includes another reminder of his risenness in 12:25 where he compels us to fix our eyes upon Jesus. The apostle Paul who had most likely known wealth, fame and the adoration of the masses, who had tasted the finer things that a broken world can offer, weighed them all as garbage in light of the new hope he’d found.

Easter may be over until next year, but where the holiday has ended, let the promise, hope and joy of Christ’s resurrection remain. This Sunday, I will preach as though Christ lives. Will you worship the same way? Let us, like Paul in Philippians 3:10, desire above all to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. In Christ, every day is our resurrection day.

He is risen. He is risen indeed. Happy Resurrection Day, Venture.

-Pastor Eric