HE IS ALIVE!
Jesus came back from the dead. How has this impacted us, personally? Is this just a story we acknowledge in our head, and pay our respect to by attending church on Easter Sunday? Even on that day, there are enough things for many people to keep them away from thinking of the Risen Saviour, such as Easter eggs and bunnies, dressing up and partying. But the integrity of the Christian faith relies so much on the fact of the resurrection of Christ that if we are not gripped by that and nothing has really changed in our lives because of that, our ‘faith’ is just like one of many others.
When we talk about the birth of Jesus, there are births of other religious founders that people celebrate. Even when we talk about the death of Jesus on the cross, others can point to some who lost their lives in martyrdom. But when it comes to the resurrection, even if there are a few fictitious accounts that people have tried to conjure up, Jesus is unique, and then our faith in Him becomes unique in terms of reality and truth.
The fact that Jesus came back to life, just as He had foretold before His death, indicates to us that whatever other claims He had made about Himself are also true and reliable. For example, He was no mere man but really the Son of God. He is the one who, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created everything that was made. He is the only way to God the Father because He is the only one who died in order to gain forgiveness for us! He is going to come again. He who believes in Him will not die but live forever with Him. When we seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, He will provide us with all that we need. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is preparing places for us in heaven, and when they are ready He will come and take us to be with Him forever. The list goes on.
When the eleven apostles and the other disciples were disheartened and fearful after the death of Jesus, the news of His resurrection gave them life. The knowledge that He was real and ever present with them energised them and made them willing to suffer persecution and even to die for His name’s sake.
Why are we timid, fearful and apologetic as a church, even two thousand years after the resurrection, years in which Jesus has shown Himself, His love and His power through innumerable miracles in daily life for millions of people? Are we still living, for all practical purposes, in the days after the crucifixion? “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen” (Lk.24:5,6).
Human beings have a tendency to focus on the tangible things rather than on things that belong to eternity. Whether it is Christmas, Good Friday or Easter (the Day of Resurrection, wrongly called Easter because of tradition), many Christians invariably spend more time on the celebrations and their multifarious details than on remembering God. Parents say that they are doing many fun things for their children, but invariably get caught in them themselves. In such a situation, it becomes the responsibility of pastors and teachers to bring back the people’s focus, away from the externals, to God Himself and to show them how to get closer to Him.
Ultimately, it is only those who know God personally in their lives who can stand against the pressures of life and the challenges that come along (Dan.11:32). Even though many false teachers proclaim the coming of good days ahead, what God warns us is that in the last days it will be difficult to live (2Tim.3:1-5), especially if we want to live as witnesses for God without compromise. At such times, it is the deep assurance in our heart that our Saviour Jesus is alive that can help us to stand. And this kind of knowledge comes not in a moment but through frequent times alone with Him and constant touch with Him all through the day.