The Apostle Paul says it in the clearest language possible, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). During Easter, the Church celebrates explicitly what we celebrate implicitly every Lord’s Day‐‐Jesus Christ is risen. Trying to articulate our faith, we often resort to metaphor and analogy. The spring reminds us of new life after the death of winter. Bunnies and eggs, associated with renewal and fecundity, dominate our Easter decorations. Even butterflies that no longer lie dormant in their cocoons now grace our bulletin covers, vestments, and banners.
Although helpful, metaphors also limit us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not about the “Circle of Life” from some Disney movie. Death is real and terrible. Jesus Christ’s death was particularly horrific. Nailed to a cross, Jesus bled, suffered, and died. For all practical purposes, death was the final solution. All of the hopes inspired by Jesus should have been crucified with him. Mortality means that everything we love is fleeting, temporary. By definition, nothing should survive death.
Then, something incredible happened. Jesus rose from the grave. God shattered the power of death. The way the world had always worked was no more. That empty tomb where the women gathered that first Easter was completely unprecedented. Bunnies and butterflies just cannot do justice to the reality of the resurrection. In case we missed it the first time, Paul reiterates, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). With Jesus Christ alive today, God proclaims that hope is more than wishful thinking. We are freed from the bondage of every day leading to an inevitable demise. Breaking away, God offers forgiveness and grace unto life everlasting.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!