Pastor's Corner

April 2021

Christ Is Risen—
This Changes Everything!


For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning. Every year we’d exchange the Easter greeting: “Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” (Or, the way I first learned it, “Christ is risen!” “Truly He is risen!”) As I’ve grown and learned more about the Christian faith, and about our basis for believing in the resurrection of Jesus, my conviction has only deepened that the central fact of the Christian faith is indeed true: Christ is risen from the dead!

Sometimes, however, the truths in which we most confidently believe can become truths that we take for granted. For instance, I believe that the earth reliably completes one rotation every day and that the sun will therefore rise every day in the east and set every day in the west, but it is very seldom that I think about and appreciate this truth, a truth on which all bodily human life depends. Similarly, I believe that Jesus Christ was dead in His body and is now alive again in His body, but I have to confess that it is rather seldom that I really think about and appreciate this truth on which all the blessed life to come depends.

One way to stop taking these fundamental truths for granted is to imagine what it would be like if they were no longer true. Imagine that the earth started drifting away from the sun. The sun would get smaller and smaller in the sky, until finally it would vanish among the countless multitude of stars. The earth would grow unbearably, uninhabitably cold. Plants would stop growing. Animal life would perish. Ultimately, without the sun, we would all perish, leaving behind a barren planet, formless and empty.

Are you appreciating the sun a little more now?

Now imagine that there had been no resurrection of Jesus. Imagine that He had been buried and then remained there in His tomb, going the way of all flesh. Jesus would be truly gone from us, forever. There would be no forgiveness of sins. There would be no hope of entry into paradise with Him upon our departure from this bodily life. There would be no hope of the resurrection of our mortal bodies on the last day. There would be no hope of a reunion in the life to come with those we love who have departed this life in the faith. We would simply be born, live, die, and then go on to whatever gloomy spiritual fate God’s just judgment might have in store for us. As St. Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep [i.e., died in the body] have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:17–19).

Are you appreciating the resurrection of Jesus a little more now?

Of course, we don’t need to worry about what life would be like without the sun, because we know we can rely on the structure of the cosmos that God has put in place for our benefit (God even promises it in His Word! See Gen. 8:22; Jer. 31:35–36; 33:20–21). Nor do we need to worry about what life would be like without the resurrection of Jesus, because we know we can rely on God’s testimony through His prophets and apostles that He has raised Jesus from the dead for our benefit. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,” writes St. Paul in jubilant triumph, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Paul can write this as one who saw the resurrected Jesus with His own eyes. As for us, the resurrected Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). We believe because God speaks to us in His written Word and, by His Spirit, convinces us of the truth of the testimony concerning His Son: “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Christ has been raised from the dead! Your sins are forgiven! You likewise will rise with Him in glory! All who by faith in Him are righteous will inherit with Him the new heavens and the new earth! All of this is true because the resurrection of Jesus is true.

CHRIST IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

ALLELULA!

Gods Blessings,

Pastor Neuendorf

 
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