by Rob Clogg
For as long as I can remember Easter service would begin with, “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed”. There are many theories about the origin of the greeting but it ultimately goes back to: “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Simon”. Luke 24:34
You can imagine the excitement that these first words created. You can see it on the faces of Peter and John running to the tomb in Eugene Burnand’s work. You can see the anticipation in their eyes. Peter with hands held (a different way of running) and John with hand on chest, are completely mesmerized. Take time to interpret this beautiful picture for yourself.
I went to see this picture at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Of all the great works in the museum this was the one I wanted to see the most. I’m not one to stand in front of a piece of art for an hour; so ten minutes was a long time for me. I wanted to see it with my own eyes, be captured by it and now it is in my memory.
I get excited for you as I write this post. I hope that you will be captured not just by this beautiful art but by the message it brings: that we have the highest and greatest hope of eternal life.
We Have a ‘Certain’ Hope
There are some things in life you need to be certain about. When I studied theology I was informed there were essentials and non-essentials. Hope of the resurrection in Christ is the ultimate essential. If Christ is not raised our preaching is in vain and our faith is worthless. 1 Corinthians 15: 14, 17.
The word “hope” for many people is something they wish will happen. Many people have an uncertain view or an unsure optimism kind of hope. The Bible speaks about hope only in terms that are certain. I can’t expect others to believe like me but this post reflects my hope.
I remember how the Easter service would begin. The rest of the service would have a triumphal feel as I anticipated certain songs that had significant meaning for me. Once again, what is significant for me may not be the same for you, but this post reflects what is significant to me.
This Post Reflects My Hope and the Significance of Easter to Me
The significance of the Easter story has been expanded since my childhood and it means more than a special day of the year and more than memorable songs. The Easter message has filled my whole being with a message that has brought thanks, praise and worship to God and freedom, peace, identity and purpose for me that I otherwise would have never known.
There was a time when I knew that Christ died for me. I knew that was a significant part of the Easter message. I knew that was important. I knew I had sinned and through the death of Christ, the God of all grace would forgive me and cleanse me. But there was another part I discovered years later.
Later I discovered what is stated many times in the Word; “I have been crucified with Christ”. Galatians 2:20 I came to believe this too. Believing this saved me from trying to measure up, trying to be good enough and set into motion the real potential for me to rest. This was good news because the source of my behavior did not need to be repaired, rehabilitated or rededicated, it needed to have a nail driven through it. I needed a whole new life, new source and new identity, especially one that did not rely on my performance. I could now exchange a life out of my own resources that didn’t work for Christ’s life living through me that could work. My old life needed to die so Christ could live His life through me, so I could start living.
Here’s the good news! After all, that is what the word gospel really means. This good news and this hope only comes from one place. Here it is:
Christ died, Christ died indeed
I died with Christ, I died with Christ indeed
He is risen, He is risen indeed
I have been raised up with Christ, I have been raised up indeed
Easter has given me such an amazing hope. I have hope to see friends and love ones again. I have hope for my future and for today. The hope I thought was only for the future is a hope I have today.
“As God raised Christ through the glory of the Father, so we too walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
“Since you have been raised up with Christ keep seeking the things above.” Colossians 3:1
“You were made alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved, and raised up with Him and seated us with Him, in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:5, 6
When we receive Christ we enter His eternal life with Him. We enter into all the realities of His life. These are spiritual realities we accept by faith. Because this has already occurred (written in the past tense) we have this certainty. We experience this by believing God made this possible.
Christ was raised indeed and so was I. In a world of uncertainty all around me, I have this confidence that God raised me up already and seated me in the most significant place. My spiritual union with Christ has made it possible for me to experience the certainty of this today and for the future.
Christ did the hard work on the cross for us. Our hard work is believing this is true in spite of all the ways we may fail, doubt or even harden our heart. I pray that the certainty of the resurrection and God’s word will encourage this in you.
Just like a favorite piece of art, a favorite song of mine is “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. The lyrics are about a man who received a diagnosis that he would die soon and he wondered how he was going to live his life. Some of the song sounds like a bucket list, but he also says,
“I loved deeper, spoke sweeter and gave forgiveness I’d been denying.
I was finally the husband that most the time I wasn’t
and I became a friend, a friend would like to have.
I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.”
I hope you can live like you have died and been raised up with Christ. It makes a difference indeed.
“You were also raised up with up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead”. Colossians 2:12
re-posted from robclogg.wordpress.com