Alleluia! Christ has Risen! He has Risen Indeed! The tomb is empty! Despite the plans of men, God did not fail; Jesus rose victoriously from the grave! Our lives have changed forever.
One of my favorite Easter memories is from the first Easter I spent in Peoria. Because I was involved in the worship service I was part of the processional. The processional Cross was covered with a black hood and the cross on the altar was covered in black as well from the “Good Friday” service. As we started to walk into the sanctuary you could hear the brass boldly and triumphantly playing and as we proceeded down the aisle the black was removed from both of the crosses. It was a representation of the veil of sin and death being removed forever. Jesus had gone to the Father on our behalf and now we too could come before God. It was one of those holy and sacred moments that I will remember forever.
A little later on in the service we were singing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and we were singing the fourth verse, “He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly friend; He lives and loves me to the end; He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing; He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King!” At that moment I looked up at the beautiful statue they have of Jesus on the altar- and for the very first time I noticed the nail scars on His hands. I could not finish the rest of the hymn because I was so overwhelmed with emotion. Jesus, the King of all creation, died for my sins. I put those nail scars on His hands. I knew that I had been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, even though I did nothing to deserve it. I couldn’t sing the words with my mouth, but I was singing them in my heart.
Can you imagine the joy that Mary felt on that first Easter morning when Jesus first said her name? That Joy is ours because Jesus is calling us by name. He is saying, “(your name) come and walk with me. I have won the victory over sin, death, and the devil for you; your life will never be the same. You will never have to be separated from your heavenly Father; I have made that sacrifice on your behalf. Come and discover all that I have to offer you, come and rest in the Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace that you can only find through me.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Alleluia! Christ has Risen! He is Risen Indeed!