1 Corinthians 15:1-8 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
On Sunday past, April 5th, we celebrated the resurrection of our LORD. During the service we were asked to consider two important questions. Did this really happen and if so, what does it mean?
First, did it really happen? I have on several occasions been in a position to argue the realness of this event with those who doubt. Ultimately after much debate one fact cannot be argued. Something occurred that day more than 2,000 years ago. That “something” was so significant it literally shattered the way time is itself is measured into two pieces, before the event (BC) and after the event (AD). Absolutely nothing, not the World Wars, the atomic bomb, not even landing on the Moon can be held in comparison to this event. For those of us who believe, the epic portion of the event was not the horrible pain and suffering of the crucifixion, it was the resurrection.
Second, what does it mean? I am recalling another April 5th some 30 plus years ago. I spent most of that day at the hospital along with several other family members watching and praying for my Mom who was enduring the final stages of breast cancer. I think the last time I had spoken to her when I knew she was coherent enough to know who I was had been the day before. Now as we waited she slipped in and out of consciousness, her body trembling, being ravaged by the decease. Occasionally she would moan the words “Oh LORD”. We were told that any additional dosages of morphine would literally be fatal to her so there was nothing we could do but watch, wait, and pray. Around 4PM I decided to run home and clean up so I could prepare for another night long vigil. I remember being at a stop light near the hospital and suddenly having a feeling of both loss and peace at the same time. At that moment I knew Mom was gone. The phone was ringing at home when I walked through the door confirming my feeling. Knowing just how much she suffered was extremely painful. Knowing that she wasn’t hurting anymore lessened ever so slightly the pain of losing her.
For those of us who believe Easter rewrites that sad ending because death is not the end. As difficult as that day way I know there is going to be another day, a glorious day, a day of joy, a day of reunion, another time shattering epic day! What does it mean? One word, life!
Heavenly FATHER we give praise and thanks to YOU who executed the perfect plan to save YOUR creations from the horrors which plague this broken world. Grant us renewed vigor, strength, and hope in the knowledge that we have victory and life because the resurrection of our SAVIOR has indeed been unleashed! In JESUS name, amen.