This verse from 1 Corinthians 15:20 is a word of victory and life, comfort and joy! Truly the world can now rejoice! And with this poet we can, in faith, join in saying:
Risen, risen is the Lord, and in eternal robes of light He walks restored.
No one tremble! The Exalted One calls out to you:
“I was dead, and behold, I live; and so you shall live too!”
O ye graves, no, before you I do not run in flight,
For the gift of life on high illumines you with His light.
Resurrection, resurrection! I, too, shall rise! The Risen One will wake me, I will see Him with my eyes!
As Good Friday, with its horror of death, fills us with sadness, so the Easter message revives our hearts with new hope and life! This is a celebration of joy! Every year, Easter reminds us of spring, new life, and new vitality! The thick winter clouds have disappeared, the frost is gone, the sun shines sweeter and warmer, awakening new, emerging life. The whole of nature brightens and delights the human heart with newly awakened life in the air and from the ground. Man is set free again from all anxiety and worries of winter. He emerges from the darkness of winter and goes out into the mild spring air and the promise of new life!
Similarly, the women, the first visitors to the tomb, and the disciples experienced the resurrection day of their Lord. On Good Friday, sorrow, pain, and deep sadness had filled their hearts. A darkness had settled over the whole land like a shroud. In the midst of this darkness, their Master had passed away, and they had still heard His last cry of pain and death. But on Easter morning, the whole region was shaken by a tremendous earthquake. No wonder that “the guards shook for fear of Him and became like dead men.” The invisible hand of God became visible through its powerful work. Someone commented:
“Whoever comes in contact with Easter touches the ‘power current’ of God and is thrown to the ground!”
Naturally, the women were also frightened, but at the same time, they were filled with great, unspeakable joy. According to Matthew, the first word their risen Lord called out to them was, “Do not be afraid!”
Jesus’ resurrection brought about a world-changing event: The actual basic cause of all deep-rooted fear had been eliminated. With Easter, the power of death was taken away, and the power of hell was defeated!
With certainty of faith, Paul wrote: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57) Also, with certainty he could exclaim: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (verses 54-55) Easter wants to remind us that not death but the risen Christ has the victory and the power.
Physical death has not been extinguished, and dying is inevitable. At some point, we will die, but death has no power to hold us. Easter gave us the faith through which we can be certain of eternal life! We may now already live the life that remains eternally. Knowing we have eternal life, we can serve and work with joy. While children of God knowingly go towards their death, their grave, and eternity, the living Christ will meet them there with a great word of comfort: “Do not be afraid!”
Jesus met John on Patmos with the same word of victory, as John reports: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead; but He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid: I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’” (Revelation 1:17-18).
“But now Christ is risen!” – “How do you know?” a reporter asked a fisherman who had so enthusiastically talked about it. “Sir,” the fisherman replied, “do you see the little houses up there on the rock? When I am out at sea at night, I know the sun has risen by the reflection in those windows. It is the same with believing that Christ has risen. I see His light in the faces of Christians and feel it in my life as well. Now, just as you cannot claim that the sun has not risen when its light is seen, neither can you claim that Christ has not risen.”
For two thousand years, the triumphant message of the resurrection of Jesus has been preached throughout the world. And again and again, we can proclaim it with complete assurance of faith and joy: “But now Christ is risen!”
Easter – day of life, day of joy!
How will it be when God’s great light
breaks clear through our grave’s dark night?
Oh, what glories we will see
when night and darkness ’round take flight,
and the light of heaven shines bright!