The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence. (1 Corinthians 15:3-9, The Message)
Many of us prefer not to recall the events that lead to Christ’s crucifixion, because He is treated so inhumanely. Nevertheless, try as we might, we cannot get through any Easter Season without remembering how Jesus is relentlessly punished (scourged), unmercifully flogged with a cat o’ nine tails, viciously beaten beyond recognition, repeatedly mocked, coldly spat on, unconscionably lied on, condescendingly given a crown of thorns to wear, forced to carry His cross to which He is nailed, given to drink sour wine mixed with bile and myrrh, and punctured in His side! The good news is that this description of the Passion of Christ (His altruistic-love act) reveals this remarkable fact: In spite of everything the Lord suffers, Christ willingly sacrifices His life for us!
Thankfully, the greatest love story that ever was, or ever could be, does not end with Christ’s crucifixion (His torturous death), which is why during every Easter Season we also are compelled to think of our Lord’s burial and resurrection. That His tomb is empty because He is resurrected speaks volumes about His triumph over the grave. Indeed, because Christ is our resurrected Lord—the firstfruits of every person who falls asleep (dies)—we can shout hallelujah, and we can take comfort in this Divine Truth, which is, we who are in Christ might also suffer a physical death, but we too will be raised from the dead so that we will be with Him forever more!
So, this Resurrection Sunday, let us joyously bear in mind ALL that our Lord suffered for us, knowing that nothing and no one can stamp out His CHURCH. For sure, Christ’s resurrection not only establishes Him as the Son of God, but also His resurrection becomes the cornerstone of our Christian faith. Moreover, since the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in us sanctifying us, we can become that CHURCH (Bride) our Lord (Bridegroom) is returning for in the very near future.
Thus, just like we rise from spiritual death when Christ calls us to be His CHURCH, those of us who have fallen asleep before Christ returns for His sanctified Bride will rise from physical death, when Christ once again calls us. After that, “…the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18, The Message).
This great getting up morning is on the horizon. Hallelujah!