JESUS JOINS THE RIGHTEOUS
Holy Week begins and ends with celebration. From the quiet of death, Jesus powerfully awakened the righteous men and women who were with Him awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. His tomb was forced open by the power of God, He emerged from the tomb, and in the garden He met Mary Magdalene and a number of other women. Later that day, He revealed Himself to His apostles. He had emerged bodily from death more alive than ever. And from here He began to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven into which He would lead all those who had died in faith (1 Corinthians 15:20). Christians worship on Sunday to remember this resurrection. Why? Because Jesus defeated our mortal enemy, death. In fact, every Sunday is a “Little Easter” to remind us of His resurrection.
We fear death—for ourselves and for those whom we love. Jesus’ power, however, is greater than death and Easter proves it. His promise, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26 ESV) is a promise that belongs to us too. Jesus went before us and those who are attached to Him in faith will share in His glorious resurrection life. Christians have always signaled this celebration of the resurrection by wearing the color white, and in more recent years, we have included pastels. Just as white is the opposite of black, life is the opposite of death. This day should be filled to the brim with joy.
- Think about someone you know who has died in faith. Imagine them now with Jesus in heaven. Imagine yourself joining Jesus and them some day.
- For remembering: Use the Easter greeting known throughout the world—Greeting: “Christ is risen!” Response: “He is risen indeed!”
By Dr. Gary M Burge professor of New Testament at Wheaton College
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