Faith & Worship: The resurrection — don’t miss it!

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

“And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:5-6)

Every year, thousands of people climb a mountain in the Italian Alps to journey through “Stations of the Cross.”

The journey leads travelers to a beautiful outdoor crucifix. On one particular day, a tourist noticed a little trail that led beyond the cross.

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He fought through brush and weeds, and to his surprise, he came upon another station — the station of what looked to be an empty tomb. It was neglected.

Brush had grown up around it, and it appeared that no one had traveled to it in years. It appeared to the tourist that everyone who had traveled through these stations had only gotten as far as the cross until they stopped — missing by far the most important station of the journey.

How easy is it for us to miss the reality of the resurrection? Far too many people today have stopped at the cross — leaving Jesus there dead, and our lives hopeless. We can easily relate to the harsh emptiness that death brings.

So, when we read of the cross, or see Jesus on the cross, it’s tempting to think that Death had won. But for Christ, death was not his end — death was his victory. Death was just a passageway into glory, and a station that would ultimately lead to destiny.

Death on the cross means hope at the tomb, and on the third day after Christ died, he rose to life. He’s alive.

That’s the beauty of Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, and every day that believers in Christ have beyond that day. We have forgiveness of our sins, freedom to live for the glory of God and the promise of a future in heaven with him for eternity. Don’t miss the glorious opportunity before you to put your faith in the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus tells me today that I can fully put my faith in God. Who else can compare to Jesus? Who else do you know that conquered the grave? Who else do you know that has died and rose from the dead?

No one, but JESUS.

I’ve personally gone to both possible sites of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem earlier this year. I remember how I felt walking into the Garden Tomb and seeing it empty. The moment was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life.

I remember seeing and hearing worshipers from all over the world going in and out of the tomb. Each expression on every face coming out was priceless. All of them were celebrating the same thing — that Jesus is alive. When I ponder Jesus’ resurrection, I think of Someone who is absolutely trustworthy in every single way.

My faith in Christ is not in vain. My faith is not in some man who lived, died, and was never heard from again. My faith is in Jesus Christ, the living and reigning Son of God, the Messiah. He is the victor and conqueror of death, hell, and the grave. He’s worthy of our worship and our lives.

Don’t miss the glory and power of the resurrection. Jesus is alive. He’s not on a cross. He’s not in the grave. He’s alive in me, and countless others who have been changed by the powerful message of the Gospel. How about you? If you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus, please consider it today. That’s why Jesus came, died, and rose from the grave – because he loves you and desires a personal and eternal relationship with you. Don’t miss the opportunity to know him today. I pray that you and your family will be blessed this Easter season.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 12-20a

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve.

After that He was seen by over 500 brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep…Now if Christ is preached that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom he did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead…”

The Rev. Peter McDonald is the pastor of Midway Baptist Church, of Columbus.

Rev. Peter McDonald, Midway Baptist Church