by Pastor Dan Lyons
April 5, 2023
On the third day of His crucifixion, death, and burial,
Jesus Christ, the only Son of God the Father Almighty and our Lord,
rose from the dead!
~ paraphrase of The Apostles’ Creed
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the miraculous event of the first Easter morning, establishes the uniqueness of Christianity. Our God left the throne of heaven to take on humanness. Upon being executed on a Roman cross, under accusing placard of treason, our God conquered death and the grave to live again.
The people called Methodist believe:
Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body,
with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature
~ Article III—Of the Resurrection of Christ
The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church
Jesus Christ rose from the dead in a physical body. His feet were grasped by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. He walked and talked with disciples. He broke bread in an Emmaus home. His disciples were invited to touch his flesh and bone. He ate a piece of broiled tilapia. He built a fire upon which he cooked bread and more fish. Jesus is a walking, talking, fish eating, back from the dead testimony to the power of God.
Because of this miracle, believers gather with the community of faith to celebrate Easter. We tell (or read) the account again. We proclaim: The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. We sing the songs of faith:
Christ the Lord is risen to today, Al-le-lu-ia!
You have overcome the grave – Glory fills the highest place . . .
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
Forever, he is glorified – Forever, he is lifted high – Forever, He is risen . . .
Up from the grave he arose with a mighty triumph o’er his foes . . .
Christ is risen from the dead – Trampling over death by death . . .
At Maple Springs, a visual focal point of our Easter celebration is the flower cross. Worshippers bring fresh cut flowers to the fill the ugly holes of the cross with beauty. As the songs of resurrection play, stem by stem, the colorful blooms are added to the old rugged cross. In a matter of minutes, the Roman instrument of torture and death, the symbol of suffering and shame, is transformed before our eyes into an icon of love, hope, and new life. The converted cross proclaims the love of God to all who gaze upon it.
The Resurrection of Christ enables you and me to look forward to our own resurrection as Jesus is the first fruit of what is yet to come. Our hope does not end with this life, this body, and this world. While speaking of his earthly departure, Jesus tells us, “Because I live, you also shall live” (John 14:19). These words of hope expand our imaginations beyond flesh and blood to the heavens and glory. Jesus’ resurrection enables our own resurrection. We look forward to the day when we will be in the Heavenly realm with the fellowship of believers.
Celebrating Easter—the resurrection day of Jesus Christ our Lord—is what sets us apart from other religions. No other god came to earth to sacrifice himself for our benefit. And because of His divinity He rose from the dead to live again. This is Good News to celebrate!
“I am the resurrection and the life.
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”