Easter is a time of year when we, as the Body of Christ, embrace the power of the resurrection once again. With the apostle Paul, we recall the reality of Romans 10:9-10, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Over the next week, I want to point us to the center of our faith — the resurrection of the Lord Jesus at Easter. I trust as you read and reflect, you will be encouraged and renewed as you follow Jesus from Palm Sunday to the day death was conquered — and Life won the victory.
This Easter season, my prayer for all of us is that we experience, in a fresh and profound way, the resurrection life of Jesus at work in us. And that we will be able to live that life with our family, our job, and our streets. Be a beacon of love in Orillia and area, showing that Jesus’ resurrection not only changes our past, but our present and future as well.
Picture a scene in the early years of the church.
A young girl, a former prostitute who has been transformed by a dynamic experience with Jesus (and the love of his followers), is about to step into a pool filled with the cool waters of baptism. She is surrounded by other women of every age and social status in society. Their eyes meet hers, framed in smiles of loving acceptance. Joyful tears stream down every face in the room.
With a few words from a leader, and a profession of faith spilling gratefully from her trembling lips, she is immersed into the waters beneath her. In the next moment, as she rises from the water, with laughter and hope filling the gathering, she begins a completely new life defined no longer by who she was – but by who she now is in Christ. “Behold,” Jesus said, “I am making everything new” (Revelation 21:5).
- Baptism has always been the perfect visual for what happens when the Easter story becomes our own story.
- We die with Christ in the image of immersion, entering his tomb with him cut off from the very breath of life.
- Then, pulled from the waters by saving hands reaching out to us, we are raised with Christ from our spiritual and physical death.
The message of Easter, and the “Holy Week” that leads up to it, is quite straightforward. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, no form of death has ultimate hold on us anymore.
- We are in union with Christ (Romans 6:3-5);
- we are incorporated into his body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-14);
- we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); and,
- cleansing from our sins (Hebrews 10:19-22).
We are each, quite literally, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), born again by the overflowing Grace and resurrecting love of our Lord. When we acknowledge the risen Jesus as our Lord and King, we are raised with Christ (Colossians 3:1) to a new and living hope, and we are set on a course of inner and outer transformation. We have risen with Christ.
At Easter, Jesus did not rise to make bad people good. He rose to make dead people live. Easter is your story, and mine. “On the third day,” we say with the great creed, “he rose from the dead.” This Easter, with him, we rise.