He Is Risen, Indeed
THE EARLY CHURCH REJOICED over the resurrection of Christ. Initiated by a believer, the phrase, “He is risen!” was uttered. The traditional response given by Christians to the proclamation that the Saviour had risen was, “He is risen, indeed!”
JUDAISM DID NOT REJOICE
Of course, the leaders of Judaism did not rejoice hearing the announcement, “He is risen!” As they opposed the message and the miracles of Jesus, they likewise opposed the notion that Jesus had risen from the dead. Caiaphas, presenting a solution to the “Jesus problem” said, “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (Jn. 11:50). Jesus not only died for the nation of Israel, but He also died for all of mankind that the whole world need not perish.
THE ROMANS DID NOT REJOICE
The Romans did not rejoice. In a short time, Christians faced nine major persecutions aimed at destroying all who placed their faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church endured little persecution as long as it was seen as a part of Judaism. Once they went outside of the scope of religio licita (“legal sect”) then the persecution began.
MODERN ATTACKS ON THE RESURRECTION
Modern Christianity is not short on those opposing the resurrection. Humanism, atheists, and liberal theologians line up to mock the very idea of a divine resurrection. Movies have implied that Jesus Christ did not die on the Cross and subsequently rise three days later. They suggest that He married and had children. Supposedly, this “holy line” was protected by a secret society called the Priory of Sion. All of these attacks are intended to weaken our faith in God and His Holy Word.
THE MOST SURPRISING OPPOSITION
The most surprising opposition to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is found within the body of Christ. Some say that Christians have no right to celebrate Easter. After all, it is part of a pagan festival concerning the spring equinox. The term Easter itself comes from the Teutonic goddess Eaestre, who was a goddess of fertility. “You have no business celebrating on Easter Sunday,” they say.
RIGHT AND WRONG
Yes, there is a pagan festival named after a Teutonic goddess. However, despite what the world calls that day, true Christians continue to cry out, “He is risen, indeed!” All of my Christian life I have rejoiced over the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have never participated in a pagan equinox ceremony. I have never uttered the name Eaestre during my praise and worship of God.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, we hear, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So, do we allow the title given by the world for that day—Easter—deter Christians from celebrating the resurrection of their Saviour? Do we likewise avoid meeting on Sundays because the name for that day of the week was given in worship of the sun? Do we avoid a midweek service on Wednesday because that day was named after the Roman god Mercury? Of course not. Christians can and should celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE RESURRECTION IS GOD’S SEAL OF APPROVAL
Some have placed a greater emphasis on the celebration of the resurrection than on the sacrifice that Jesus made upon the Cross. Remember, it is the Cross and not the resurrection that paid the price for our sin. We should rejoice and praise God for the resurrection because it is God’s seal of approval on the precious sacrifice of the blood of the Lamb. Therefore I say, “He is risen!” and “He is risen, indeed!”