Easter Sunday, April 17
Reader: “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam,”
Response: “Everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.
After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Have you ever thought how worthless life would be if there were no eternal life with God? All the suffering, war, persecution, hunger, pain, and disease would be for nothing. That kind of cruelty is unimaginable. There would never be any justice for wrongdoing. If our hope in Christ was only good in this life, and he doesn’t solve or relieve every trouble we face, what is the point of putting trust in him? He gives grace to deal with difficulties, but in the end we still die. If this is the case, Jesus is nothing more than a medicine to ease the pain of a depressing life, then death and that’s it. Oblivion. Annihilation. Not something to look forward to! No, there is eternal life for everyone either in the presence of God or apart from God. Hell is as real as heaven.
In the prior sentences we are reminded that if Christ did not actually rise from the dead, then the whole thing is a fraud and we have been sinisterly fooled. BUT (what a great three letter word), in fact, that is not the case. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Sin lost its grip and was crushed to an eternally fatal death this Resurrection day. Jesus is the pioneer (Heb. 12:2 NIV) and perfecter of our faith. A pioneer is one who jumps overboard on a floundering ship, swims to land with a rope providing a way for everyone on the sinking ship to arrive safely on shore. Jesus is the pioneer of our faith.
Adam is the father of our death. Jesus is our brother of eternal life. Christ killed death. He is coming back to earth and when he does, we’ll all be raised to eternal life. Death no longer has power over people. In Jesus, we have defeated death! Though your physical body and mine will at some point die, we don’t die, we just change addresses! We go home, the home we were made for. Christ will destroy every ruler and every power and set up his Father’s Kingdom.
No, life is not worthless and Christians are not to be pitied. By the grace of God, we know the most glorious Savior!
Music: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” Sylvia McNair
O God, who by thine only begotten Son hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; grant, we beseech thee, that those who have been redeemed by his Passion may rejoice in his Resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
―The Galasian Sacrementary, from Guideposts Prayers for Easter, p.64
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Beginning tomorrow the Eastertide daily devotionals will continue taking us through Ascension Day and on to Pentecost on June 5th. You don’t have to do anything; they will appear in your email box each morning.
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