Finding Faith: Jesus was not defeated
"Easter is the high point in the Christian calendar in which, after having been mercilessly crucified, Jesus rises from the tomb, thus delivering a crushing blow to the sin, the death and the evil that has such a tight grip on this earthly world."
Sunday is Easter for tens of millions of Western world Christians.
Easter is the high point in the Christian calendar in which, after having been mercilessly crucified, Jesus rises from the tomb, thus delivering a crushing blow to the sin, the death and the evil that has such a tight grip on this earthly world.
Each of the four biblical gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — tell the story of that Easter morning a little differently. The people who find the tomb are different; who and how they tell the news is different; and even when the stone of Jesus’ tomb gets rolled away is different.
But the central message is all the same: “But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.’” (Mark 16:6)
In other words, the God who came to earth in the form of a mortal human, and later suffered an unjust death at the hands of religious and government authorities for threatening the status quo of how this world is ordered, was alive!
He was not defeated at the hands of those whose evil kept so many oppressed through corrupt systems of justice, commerce and government. But rather, Jesus crushed all of those systems of oppression by rising again. They would not have the final word! Hallelujah!
That is why Easter is such a joyous time for those who follow Jesus. Because through his death and sacrifice on our behalf on the cross, we know that we too receive eternal life. Death does not conquer us thanks to Jesus’ ultimate gift to each and every one of us. But rather, we will live on in the Kingdom of God where no one goes hungry or neglected or jailed or naked or homeless.
All will enjoy the same mercy and endless compassion. All of those here on earth that were shunned but Jesus hung out with anyway — the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the widowed and the lepers — will be seated at the same table as the kings and government leaders and the unrighteously pious of this world.
Easter reminds us that, yes, on that dark day at Golgotha, the powers of this world tried to end Jesus’ life and his threat to them. But in his final act as a mortal, Jesus defeated them, and in so doing, promised everyone a new life. One that will last for eternity in a kingdom so much more beautiful and unimaginable than this one!
Easter is a wonderful celebration of life! And it reminds each of us that no matter how dark of a time we are journeying through, that come Easter morning, Jesus will rise, and in doing so, he will conquer the death of this world again and again!
For he will not be found in that tomb! But rather, he is risen and active and present in this world! Hallelujah!
Devlyn Brooks, who works for Modulist, a Forum Communications Co.-owned company, is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He serves as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minnesota. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments and story ideas.