He is Risen Indeed!
O Death, Where is Thy Sting?
O Grave, Where is Thy Victory?
The most important thing did not happen in Florida or London, in Athens or in Rome. Nor did it happen in Cairo or Beijing. It happened in Jerusalem. The women who ran from that empty tomb, from which a great stone had been rolled away, bore the good news. He is not here. He is Risen! That Good News is the foundation of all truth.
Here in Florida, the great and powerful often deny that truth. Or, perhaps more often, they stumble over it, but they soon pick themselves up and toddle along as if they had never encountered it. Here, the conversation is all about things like healthcare or war, the billions and trillions that are needed. For what? Well, we are endlessly told it is all necessary to stave off the sting of death, to deny the grave's victory.
While critical temporal issues are important, they do not endure. Jesus does. He is both Lord of and central to human history. He was not the first person to rise from the dead. Remember the story of Lazarus? Dead four days, this beloved brother of Mary and Martha had been buried in Bethany. When Jesus came to them, they told him if he had only been there, their brother Lazarus would not have died. Jesus joined in the mourning of those who loved Lazarus. He wept. But then he called upon Lazarus to come out of the grave. Lazarus came back from the dead!
Scripture tells us that the conspirators sought the life of Lazarus because they knew that many believed in Jesus, having seeing Him raise Lazarus from the dead. How ironic.
But there is a difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus, we may assume, took full advantage of his second opportunity at life, but died again. Not Jesus. Jesus, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead to eternal life. And just as we believe not in Lazarus, but in Jesus, Christians too are promised that we will be raised to eternal life.
Some of our radical enemies have said: "We love death. America loves life. That is the big difference between us." As Christians, however, we know that he who clings to his life at all costs will lose it but he that believes in Jesus will know everlasting life.
Our enemies do not understand us. Throughout the world during Holy Week, they burned churches, rioted against Christians, threatened our brethren, and uttered vile curses.
They did that to Jesus, too. But all their threats, all their curses, all their cruelties came to naught. They put a huge stone in front of His grave. That will keep Him away from us, they thought, that will put an end to this Jesus, this troubler of Israel.
It didn't. For two thousand years, mockers have denied that Jesus was raised from the dead. He was drugged and taken down from the cross early, wrote one popular author in the 1960s, and his followers spirited His body away. A plot. A conspiracy. A cabal. Believe anything, these mockers tell us, but don't believe in Jesus.
Yet we have more witnesses to the Risen Christ than we have to the assassination of Julius Caesar, and no one invents conspiracy theories to deny Caesar's assassination.
It is Jesus they deny. Jesus they fear. Jesus they hate. Even as He loves, and we must, for His sake, love them too.
Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. The builders may have rejected Him, but we cling to our Savior, our faith, to the very hem of His garment. With Doubting Thomas, we say: "My Lord and my God!"
It is this Risen Lord who conquered sin and death that we may have life, and have it abundantly. Hallelujah!
Authored by Robert Morrison, FRC's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies