April 2024 | Pentecostalism: Pressing on in the Spirit (Phil. 3:14)

Christ is Risen Indeed
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Christ is Risen Indeed

Dr. Valson Abraham

One Easter Sunday morning in the 1930s, a young British journalist, also an atheist and socialist, entered a Russian Orthodox Church in Kiev, in what was then part of the Soviet Union. This young man idealized the Russian Revolution as the beginning of a human utopia free of all religion.  One day, he hoped to move there to participate in this man-made “heaven.”

Instead of witnessing “heaven,” he saw starvation, oppression and hopelessness.  It was a time of man-made famine in which more than seven million died.  

Instead of seeing the dying remnants of religion, he witnessed a sanctuary filled to capacity, people packing the aisles.  He saw hope and joy rise in their faces when the priest declared, “Christ is risen!” They roared back, “Christ is risen indeed!” This took place three times, and each time, the congregation’s response was louder than the time before. This shook the godless young journalist.

That shaken young man was Malcolm Muggeridge, who witnessed in humble peasants something supernatural he had no idea existed until that moment: living trust and hope in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and Savior, who was carrying them through their wicked oppression. Later, Malcolm Muggeridge, the atheist, would become one of the most eloquent spokesmen for the risen Christ in the 20th century.

Just as in the 20th century world of Malcolm Muggeridge, we also live with trouble and oppression.  Many are frightened and hopeless.  But the message remains the same:  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  It really happened, and it makes all the difference in the world to each of us on many levels.

I invite you to discover for yourself through prayer and study of God’s Word just what Christ’s resurrection means for you, for your loved ones, for your community and nation and for the world.  Let us briefly consider some of those ways.

We must do this because the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. It is the best possible news for every single human being on the face of this earth.  It is one of two massive accomplishments that form the foundation of the gospel, or “Good News” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Those two accomplishments are these:  “that Christ died for our sins” and “that He was raised on the third day.”

The actual death of Jesus Christ is confirmed by the nature of His burial. In those days, one hundred pounds of spices were used to embalm his body.  A stone weighing close to 2,000 pounds, or one ton, was used to cover the entrance of the tomb.  These are signs that Jesus was fully dead and buried, unable to leave that tomb in any way—except by the power of God.

Paul, the one-time enemy of Jesus Christ, who once persecuted the church and ridiculed the resurrection, saw the risen Christ himself! He reports that Jesus not only appeared to the disciples but to more than five hundred people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

Paul dares to say that if Christ is not risen, his own preaching is worthless and our faith is worthless. Why would he say this if he knowingly promoted a hoax? Time and again, scoffers have tried to disprove Jesus’ resurrection, but every time, they fail.  Many times, they change their minds and put their faith in Jesus Christ when they honestly study the evidence for themselves (for example, Frank Morrison, Who Moved the Stone?).

The truth is, the resurrection of Jesus Christ shapes your present and future existence. Through His resurrection, it is possible for you to experience eternal life, not only by going to heaven when you die but also in the present.

Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we receive healing of bodies and spirits.  We receive forgiveness of sins. We receive a new way to live our lives.  We receive the power to live fruitful lives. Even in our present bodies that decay and die, we receive the power to live supernatural lives.  By the resurrection, all of our faith and preaching become worthwhile and bear great fruit. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we receive the Holy Spirit.

Through His resurrection, Jesus Christ gains the right and authority to intercede for us at God’s right hand. Through His resurrection, we gain the authority and right to destroy the works and rule of demonic powers that have tried to cripple and destroy us, our loved ones and our nation. Jesus’ resurrection enables us to recover what the enemy has taken from us.

Jesus’ resurrection insures us that all we do for Him in His Name will bear fruit and do good in the lives of others and for His Kingdom.

Jesus’ resurrection provides us with immortality. Even when our physical bodies die, we receive new bodies with new powers, free of all weakness and the power of death.

Jesus’ resurrection does not remove all our troubles, but even as He experienced victory over evil, He enables our own troubles to work for us rather than against us. We have hope, even in the midst of our trials, even as did those people suffering the oppressions of Stalin’s deadly dictatorship. Jesus’ resurrection brings God’s justice to work on our behalf.

Above all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us the possibility of true relationship and friendship with God, removing every barrier that has prevented this friendship (Revelation 21:3-4). Relationship with God is the key to everything that is good in this life and the life to come.

In short, the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a new and higher purpose for living.  It sets the stage for new and more satisfying desires we never dreamed possible.  Even as Paul has written, “Those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Jesus is risen!  He is risen indeed!

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Father God, thank you for raising your Son from the dead that I might have eternal hope through Him.  Since you are for me, who can be against me?  Nothing can separate me from your love because of what Jesus has done.  I place my trust in You through the power of His blood and His resurrection life. In the Name of your risen Son.  Amen.

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