Today marks a time of year that many in the religious community take time to celebrate the holiday called Easter. Although we have been walking us through the letter to the Colossians, I thought I would take a moment and remind us all of the hope and joy that is found in His resurrection. Remember, the apostle Paul wrote that Jesus was “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18) and “His resurrection marked his triumph over all the forces that held men and women in bondage.” So often the lessons presented on this day focus on the events of Christ’s resurrection. I think of “Mary Magdaline and the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1) who went to the tomb of Jesus only to see an angel sitting on the rolled back stone of the tomb. The angel told the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; FOR HE IS RISEN…” (Matthew 28:5-6). Can you imagine how that news impacted them? That is the Good News climatic truth, He has risen! And because He has, there are things we can know with confidence.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1st Corinthians 15:19
Okay, I am guilty. I have used this very verse numerous times in the past on this very day. But bear with me this time. Concerning that verse, I found the ETRV powerful and simplistic, “If our hope in Christ is only for this life here on earth, then people should feel more sorry for us than for anyone else.” The whole thrust of 1st Corinthians 15 is the confidence in our future resurrection. That future rest on the reality of His resurrection. Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1st Thessalonians 4:13-14). This life presents many challenges, and we find ourselves at times overwhelmed and burdened. This journey will be worth it, for “He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you” (2nd Corinthians 4:14). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 15:57). The future holds much for all those in Christ Jesus!
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
1st Corinthians 15:17
What precedes that our resurrection is the joy we come to know that because He is risen, sin no longer holds me captive. One of the most sobering bible verses to me is found in 1st Peter 2:24-25. Peter writes of how Jesus “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.” The movie The Passion vividly brought this to a visual reality for me. I was dead in my sins! Void of any effort to gain redemption. Yet, because of “His great love” for me, He “made me [us] alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised me [us] up together…” (Ephesians 2:4-6). Paul wrote, “It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). Because He has Risen, we have been freed from our sinful past. This kind of leads one final thought concerning the benefits of Christ’s resurrection.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant
mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
1 Peter 1:3
Hope rests upon the truth of His resurrection! And because He has risen, we have a living hope. A hope of “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and does not fade away” (1st Peter 1:4). It is not fully realized yet, for Christ has not come back. Even so, it does not minimize the new life we have in Christ because of Christ. When by faith in Him we gave ourselves to Him through baptism, He raised us from the dead just like Christ was and we now “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
There is NO hope outside the resurrection of Christ! The life He lived, the life He gave, and the power of His resurrection is where the good news is to be found. It is all because He has risen.