Christ is Risen Indeed!

empty tomb

On that fateful Friday, the sun withdrew itself for a few hours - but the hearts of the disciples remained dark long after the sun returned. Their beloved Master was dead and buried. But then came Easter morning!

Out of a dark night dawns Easter morning. Dejected and sad, the women come to the Lord’s tomb. They are searching for the One who lived but was killed, the One whom their hearts loved above all else and who was torn from them by the most horrific death. Now they are looking for Him in the tomb! Jesus, who returned the young man of Nain to his mother, the one who called a decaying Lazarus from the tomb and presented him to his grieving sisters; this Jesus is the one whose body they are now looking for in the tomb. If Jesus remains in the tomb, is not the entire world nothing more than a vast graveyard, bereft of any light or hope?

With the thought: “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” they come to the tomb. They still find themselves in the dread of night, even though the Easter sun is already rising behind the Mount of Olives. The morning has already come.

The realization gradually dawns on them that some- thing miraculous has happened. The stone is rolled away. The tomb is empty! Jesus is no longer in the tomb! “He is not here, but is risen!” This is the wonderful angel greeting they hear on this Easter morning. And suddenly bright light rushes into their midnight. They begin to grasp: He is risen! He who died on the cross has broken the chains of death, has conquered death and taken its power. He has overpowered death and is risen. He who is life, lives! Truth has conquered! Love triumphs over mortal hate! Death is swallowed up in victory!

The sacrifice of Good Friday is a sacrifice for our sins. Christ died for our sins. Yet, Christ lives! Yes, He who died arose from the dead and now intercedes for us at God’s throne. A new day breaks for the entire world with Easter Monday.

Let us joyfully call out this Easter morning: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” Who dried the tears of Mary Magdalene? Who brought her joy at the empty tomb? – the risen Christ! Who removed the guilt from Peter’s heart and gave him new courage and strength? – the risen Christ! Who opened the Scriptures to the disciples of Emmaus, explaining the meaning of Easter and set- ting their hearts aflame? Who broke bread with them on a quiet evening? – the risen Christ!

Who gathered the handful of scattered disciples and brought peace to their heavy and quaking hearts – the risen Christ! Who changed Saul of Tarsus, who breathed threats and violent murder against the church of God, to a Paul? Who cast him to the ground before the gates of Damascus and then lifted him up and made him a vessel to bear the name of Jesus before kings, rulers and nations? Who made him willing and able to revile and hate himself for the sake of the name of Jesus? Only Christ the crucified and resurrected was able to do this!

Who caused all martyrs, beginning with Stephen, to face their end with joy and removed their fear and terror when confronted by a cruel death? Did they give their lives for a dead Jesus? No, a living risen Christ gave them the necessary strength!

Jesus, the crucified and resurrected, is the cornerstone of the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. It is on this cornerstone that God builds His church. Marching on through the centuries of world history, the church is often embattled, hated, and her members persecuted and killed, but yet she lives on: "[...] as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2 Corinthians 6:8–10), - for Christ is risen!

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