Happy Easter Sunday! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! I know for all of us Christians this is the most glorious and meaningful day. And we’ll get back to this “Easter Declaration” a little further along in this article.
But first this: the words in my title above form one of the oldest creeds, if not the oldest creed, in Christendom. A creed, of course, is a declaration of what we believe and what we agree that we believe together.
So, simply, we Christians believe that Christ has died, that He is risen, and that He will come again. Amen!
As the life of the Church developed after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the two creeds that became the standards of The Faith have been, and remain today, the Apostles’ Creed and The Nicene Creed, both of which declare the Triune God, the Trinity, as the foundation of our faith.
But the ancient and simple creed declared in the headline above is still used in our liturgy, and still holds the bedrock of our Faith. Let’s ponder again the profound truth that we believe and declare.
1. Christ has died. Every account of Jesus in Scripture gives witness to the fact that Jesus died, and died by crucifixion on the cross. However, all these accounts also profess the faith that Jesus’ death was not simply the end of his own breathing, but rather that His death had the distinct purpose of dying, not in and of himself, but for the sake of others.
In fact, His death on that cross had the purpose and reality of dying to forgive the sins of the whole world, and for those who believe to be restored to a right relationship with God our Father. Unfortunately, our relationship with God had been broken with the fall of humankind in the Garden of Eden, and we could do nothing ourselves to restore it.
Romans 5:6-8: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So, the meaning and faith statement on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified on that cross, is that He did not just die, but that He died, as the perfect and sinless Son of God, for me and for you, so that all our sins could be forgiven.
2. Christ is risen. Boom! Now we get Easter! Now we get the power and glory of this day! Now we get the earth-shattering Good News we love to hear and declare!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The absolute number one, most important, linchpin foundation of our Christian faith is simply this: Christ is risen.
The Old Testament prophesied and promised it. Every contributor to the New Testament scriptures declares and stands together with the necessary truth that Jesus was dead, but the absolute truth that He came back to life. He arose. God gave resurrection to His earthly body. He lives. He lives again.
And because He lives, we too, through our faith in Him, shall inherit eternal life.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
What do you want said at your funeral or the funeral of a loved one? “This is the end. Your body is cremated or buried and it’s all come to absolute nothing. You’re dead. The end.” Of course not!
Rather, because of the resurrection of Christ and our faith in Him, this prayer will be said at our funeral. “God of grace, you sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to bring life and immortality to light. We give you thanks because by his death Jesus destroyed the power of death and by his resurrection has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Make us certain that because he lives we shall live also, and that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nothing shall be able to separate us from your love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (From The Burial of the Dead, Lutheran Book of Worship) Amen! And Amen!
3. Christ will come again. What a tremendous and important promise Christ gave to his disciples and gives also to us. He will come again. And we believe that. We hold desperately to that. We declare that with great conviction.
Our world is not on some unguided mission, left to chance and the possibility of human error that will bring our full demise. No. Our world is under the reign and sovereignty of God Almighty. The God of the Bible. The God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our world is in the hands of the One True God who has promised that Jesus, God’s only Son, who came in human flesh to save the world from sin and eternal damnation, will come again to “judge the living and the dead” and restore all things under His eternal and perfect Kingdom.
We need not be afraid of the return of Christ. We need not be afraid of the end of this world. A reality much better and so much greater will be ours when Christ returns.
John 14:1-4 NLT, Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
So, Happy Easter! Let our songs of joy fill every sanctuary. Let our conviction of resurrection echo across the land. Let the Good News be preached with conviction and clarity.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ shall come again.
Amen![Dr. Justin Kollmeyer, a thirty-seven year resident of Fayette County, is a retired Lutheran pastor. He offers his preaching and teaching pastoral ministry to any group seeking or needing a Christ centered, Biblically based, and traditionally grounded sermon or teaching. Reach him at email@example.com.]