He Is Risen
By Lee Jones
There is an ancient tradition in Christianity, and it’s pretty simple. On Easter morning, we greet each other with the phrase “He is risen” and we receive the response “He is risen indeed.” This is a good tradition, but once a year isn’t really enough.
The first instance of that greeting came from the lips of an angel in Mark 16:6. Three women approach the tomb Jesus was buried in to perform Jewish rites or burials and they’re met by an open tomb. Bad news? No, it’s good news. It’s Gospel. Perhaps it’s fitting that Jesus spent the Sabbath in the tomb, as he rested for a day from the labor he had done on Good Friday of laying down his life and fulfilling his role as the propitiation for the sins of the elect. In this way, you could say Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath by redeeming creation and resting from that labor before rising again as mediator of the New Covenant.
An angel dressed in white was sitting in the tomb and “he said to them, "do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.””
Why does he tell them not to be amazed? Because she did had been foretelling his death and resurrection for a long time, yet they have not comprehended it. So he mercifully provided concrete proof he was no longer there.
Luke’s account allows more detail from the angel’s speech, and he asks them a poignant question; “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen.”
Jesus stepped out from the tomb on two nail-scarred feet, spoke to Cleopas and a friend on the way to Emmaus, allowed Thomas to touch his side, and ate a hearty breakfast and talked with his Disciples. Then he ascended to the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
He is risen.
As believers, we have the privilege of gathering with his church on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, in correspondence with this life-changing event: that the Giver of Life gave up his own and took it up again that we the spiritually dead might live. We worship and learn and fellowship when we gather only because of the saving power of Christ’s work in his life, death, and resurrection.
We share that also at the Lord’s Supper, and we proclaim his death until he returns. And we have the promise of his return because he first arose, and now intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand.
He is risen indeed.
The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is indeed amazing, but don’t be amazed, be love-struck instead. “He who did not spare his own son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). He has given us the gift of forgiveness, righteousness, reconciliation with God, and a place to dwell with our Redeemer for eternity.
Jesus told Thomas that blessed are those who have not seen yet believe. Peter echoes this in I Peter 1:8, “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Resurrection Sunday is very special and joyous, to be sure. But every Sunday after the fact is a Resurrection Sunday. Every day of our lives, we know Jesus is risen and the joy that comes from knowing him and being redeemed by him changes everything. And our worship together on the Lord’s Day is based on, and fueled by, his resurrection. Believe in his name, though you don’t see him now, and believe his Word that he lived, taught, died, and rose. And be encouraged, for he has overcome the world.
He is risen.
He is risen indeed.
Glory to God alone.