Easter

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 ff

Winston Churchill planned his own funeral in Saint Paul's cathedral. The service included famous hymns : To be a pilgrim, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Fight the good fight, O God, our help in ages past. At the end of the service, per Sir Winston's instructions, after the Benediction was pronounced, a lone bugler in the dome of St. Paul's cathedral played The Last Post, the universal signal that the day is over. And when that bugler stopped, the service took a dramatic turn: another lone bugler, this time on the other side of the dome of St. Paul's cathedral began to play Reveille. "It's time to get up, it's time to get up, it's time to get up in the morning..."

The Easter truth is not just that Jesus was raised on that first Easter morning, but that YOU and I were raised. Paul says, "You were raised with Christ." That first Easter morning, that tomb was packed out literally with billions of people, all coming forth on that first Easter morning according to Paul. Usually we think of no room at the inn at Christmas, but Easter dwarfs that. That tomb was pretty crowded. YOU and I were raised with Christ.

Good Friday was not just about the Crucifixion, the execution of Jesus on the cross. It is about OUR death, We were nailed to the tree with Him."For in Christ you have died with Christ and you have been raised with him". In verse one, Paul gives us an important word: since. Since you have died with Christ, since you have been raised with Christ - then act like it!
Paul goes on to say, "Set your minds and hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Don't set your minds and hearts on earthly things, set them on the things above."

The key phrase is: "seated at the right hand of God." First: that Jesus is alive, Second He is seated at the right hand of God. That means that He is sovereign. That He reigns supreme over heaven and earth, over everything in human history. He is alive and reigns supreme. Since you have died with Christ. Since you have been raised with Christ. Since Jesus reigns supreme and since he is coming again, Paul says, your life and my life has yet to see what it is really going to become. The stone was rolled away - not to let Jesus out - but to let us in. Closed doors never kept Jesus in or out.

In Matthew's account of the resurrection, it was after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had come to the tomb that "there was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone and sat upon it."

God rolls the door of the tomb away to let us in - to show us that Christ's promises are true.

The tomb is not completely empty - Christ's body is not there, but the place is filled with the words of the angel, the words we just heard, the words that say, "Look, he is not here, he is risen," and "Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples - he has been raised from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee, and there you will see him."

If the women on that first Easter morning had looked into an empty and silent tomb, then our resurrection faith would be a belief based on human speculation only. Instead, our faith is based on a word spoken to us by God. It is based on God's holy promise, spoken by Christ before he died, and upon God's holy assurance - spoken by the angel on the first Easter Sunday. "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said." (Matthew 28:6)


Because of Easter we can turn our backs on the grave.

Matthew tells us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, having heard the angelic assurance, "He is risen", turned their backs on the grave and ran "with great joy" to tell the disciples.

Joy is the key word here. Christ was buried, but he wouldn't stay dead. The tomb could not hold him - and because of him - the tomb cannot hold us either.

This indeed is what Jesus promised to us before he died, that death is not the end - but a new beginning.