The First Day—AgainHow does Jesus’ resurrection infuse you with fresh hope?
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by Aaron Shust
"Hallelujah, He is Risen
Hallelujah, our sins have been forgiven
Now we have power over the grave
Christ the Lord is risen today"
- Aaron Shust
>Read Matthew 28:1
He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
Most of us have experienced the death of someone close to us. Even if we
believe we will be reunited again in the Hereafter, the concept of never sharing
another Christmas, never sharing another common meal, never having another
conversation or never being able to pick up the phone to call someone who
is such an important part of our lives gives us more than enough reason to
grieve their absence. Life will go on without them, but that life will be different,
sometimes drastically different.
The fictional subplot in the World War II movie, Pearl Harbor, tells of a woman
who is informed that her fiance's plane was shot down in the waters off the coast
of England. She is of course horrified and grieves, but then life plods on and
after many months, her relationship with her fiance's best friend develops and
they fall in love. As the plot thickens, it turns out that her fiance never actually
died and returns home to the shocking reality that life has moved on without
him. Everyone finds themselves in a state of whiplash, because people just don't
return from the dead.
I'm not sure we can ever fathom what emotional whiplash the followers of
Jesus were experiencing when their Master, who just hit the top of Jerusalem's
popularity charts a week before at His triumphal entry, was suddenly arrested,
severely beaten and killed all in about fifteen hours. "What just happened?
Am I dreaming? I thought…I thought Jesus was going to…SAVE US…I
thought He was our new King!" Their realities changed in an instant. They
were leaderless and alone. When dramatic things occur in our lives, we can
cover the thousands of steps that will now have to be taken, just in the first few
minutes. Think about what the disciples must have tearfully agonized over in
those thirty-nine hours after Jesus died.
Then the confusing, unbelievable news came, "I just saw Jesus and…you're
not going to believe me, but just go with me here…He's not dead
any longer." I can imagine my heart stopping when I actually saw my Hero,
who was just pulverized, standing before me glorified, no worse for the wear,
smiling at me. Over the next forty days, I imagine the Risen Lord spoke in fewer
parables to his followers, but around campfires and over meals He explained to
them how His death and resurrection fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies, how love's redeeming work was done, how He fought the fight and The Battle was
now won, how He opened Paradise, how He died to save our souls and how our
sins are now forgiven!
If none of that were true and Jesus is still dead, every one of the disciples
were incomprehensibly committed to die horrible deaths to defend the lie they
We don't live with the memory of a great leader. Jesus in not dead. Our King is
alive and well today.