Re-post: From Easter — Onward and Upward

I continue my faith-trek from Easter Sunday toward Pentecost Sunday with a soul-deep awareness that Jesus Christ makes himself a living presence to all who choose to follow him.

I hear the words of the Angel who addressed the women outside the empty tomb early on that first day of the week, “He is not here; he is risen just as he said” (Matt. 28:6). Just as he said. He promised! He kept his promise!

The words of the Apostle’s Creed ring true for me, “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who the third day rose from the dead.” And because of that, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

I read a piece by the late Wilbur M. Smith marshalling the arguments to support the truth of the resurrection. It reinforces my faith. Christ had power over death and hell. During his earthly ministry he himself raised three from the dead, the son of the widow of Nain, the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, and Lazarus.

What can we say to the fact that the disheartened Apostles were little by little compelled to believe after Christ’s resurrection. And in believing they moved from being disheartened and afraid to being joyful and courageous even unto death?

On resurrection Sunday the tomb was empty and no one could explain this adequately except by the facts of the resurrection. The Roman soldiers even had to be bribed to lie about what had really happened that left the tomb in its vacated state.

The arguments are many and compelling, but I am most moved by the truth of Christ’s resurrection when I read for myself the closing chapters of each of the four gospels. I have read them carefully this past week. I have pored over them. For me they breathe life and hope for this life and for the life to come.

So I pray earnestly for you, my dear reader, that you too may experience afresh this living Christ who suffered and died for you and who lives to share his resurrection life in you. If you know him, may you know him more deeply, if you are on the fringes of faith may you cross the line by surrendering to his will, and should you be one who lives without this hope may you give the truth of the resurrection the chance it requires to bring you to newness of life.

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Photo credit: emeryjl (via flickr.com)

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2 thoughts on “Re-post: From Easter — Onward and Upward

  1. Hi Bishop: I am with you on the resurrection. It is good to review from time to time the basics of our faith. Thank God for the hope for one day of our own resurrection. Blessings, Roy C. Kenny

  2. I type this reply comment on the 49th day of Easter 2016.

    Nine days ago we celebrated Christ’s Ascension. Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, the day we cpmmemorate the unique events of Pentecost ,which came to pass nearly two millenia ago.

    At Pentecost the Spirit descended on Christ’s followers. Ten days previously, at Ascension, Jesus ascended to Heaven to sit on the right Hand of God the Father. At His Ascension , Jesus, the Christ, bodily left earth.But He remains present in His followers ,who are now Christ’s body here on earth.

    Before His crucifixion , trusting in His Father, Jesus said He would rise . He kept His Word. Before His Ascension , Jesus told His disciples to go to Jerusalem ,there to wait for something ,the implication being something special would happen .Pentecost happened. At His Ascension the disciples were told Christ will return in the same way as He left. So we know Christ will come again ! This is our Christian creed.

    We knew Christ would rise on the third day.We knew He would ascend to His Father.These things duly happened.The disciples knew something special would happen in Jerusalem shortly after His Ascension , for Jesus sent them there for a purpose.Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit descended on each person in that upstairs room, like tongues of fire and indwelt each of Christs followers. What was promised all came to pass. Similarly,we were promised Christ’s second coming . Christ will come again !

    Jesus rose from the dead ,having previously proved His dominion over death by the raising of Jairus’s daughter and by raising His friend Lazarus.Jesus then ,after His ascension ,extended His power over death ,to His disciples. In Acts we learn Peter raised, from the dead , Tabitha ( also called Dorcas ) .Jesus came to earth and took away death’s sting.

    The Gospels recount the bodily life of Jesus. The book of Acts ( the deeds of the apostles) is really all about Jesus too , this time about His presence in Spirit.These events in the Gospels and Acts are astonishing . No one would ever invent them. In fact, people tried to hush them up.The Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities tried every dirty trick in the book to cover up the truth ,first the truth of the raising of Lazarus then the truth of Christ’s resurrection .

    After Christ’s death , then His resurrection and ascension,the Roman establishment strove to mock and persecute the deeds and beliefs of Christ’s followers, who are His body on earth,the church. The Romans could not cover up the truth.Eventually,under Constantine, led to Christ by his mother Helena ,they would acknowledge and embrace the truth.

    The Gospel accounts ring clear and true.We read them and inspired by the indwelling Holy Spirit ,we are moved.The Gospels ,read in the Holy Spirit, are an epiphany. We learn the awesome truth.Christ has conquered death !

    Each year ,through the preparatory days of Lent and then the fifty days of Easter ,we are moved once again ,as we relive the astonishing events of the first Easter. Each year ,as that part of the Christian year from Shrove Tuesday to Pentecost , comes round once again (Shrovetide ,Lententide,Passiontide and Eastertide) ,comes round once again . we know Christ more deeply .

    And so ,we are brought more fully to newness of life.

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