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Such is our Easter joy!

April 12, 2016 No Comment

by Thomas Prachar

President Thomas Prachar

President Thomas Prachar

A pastor had just celebrated an early Easter morning service at one point of his dual parish, and was on his way now to conduct the service at his second congregation. Suddenly, his car gave a groan and a bang, finally coming to a stop. With his cell phone in hand and with Easter joy still in his heart, the pastor began his call for assistance with the traditional Easter greeting, “Christ is Risen!” The operator was silent for just a moment, and then replied, “Oh did He…really?”

Ah, the skepticism and secularity of the pagan mind! As Christians we are often tempted to think the same way. We seem to believe more in the Easter bunny than in a historical person named Jesus. Besides, the bunny is so cute and cuddly, not bloodied and battered like Jesus’ crucified and dead body. It’s so much easier to believe in a God who is “out there” somewhere, mystically present and aware of us, rather than a God who would take on human form only to die on a cross. It’s so much easier to believe that your loved one who died is now “at peace,” rather than try to connect their eternal future with a man who died two thousand years ago. It’s so much easier to believe in qualities like love and kindness than it is to believe in a God who would commit the loveless act of allowing His own Son to die for something He never did, for people He never met.

Our Christian faith either stands or falls with the resurrection of that body which was laid in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb on Good Friday. Jesus’ resurrection assures us that God the Father has accepted the sacrifice of His Son as payment in full for the sins of the world. We can be assured that all of our past sins—no matter how big or small, no matter how seemingly insignificant or glaring, no matter what consequences we suffered as a result of those sins— have been forgiven and forgotten by our heavenly Father when we go to Him with humble and repentant hearts.

Our Christian faith either stands or falls with the resurrection of that body which was laid in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb on Good Friday.

Because Jesus is risen from the dead, we now have hope for the future; hope that we will join Him with resurrected bodies for an eternity in heaven. As we stand at the grave faced with the humbling finality of life, our faith rises to the occasion as we join with Job and say, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” As we remember those who have died before us, we have the assurance of our Saviour’s own words: “Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

Such is our Easter joy!

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Rev. Thomas Prachar is President of the Central District of Lutheran Church–Canada.