“He is risen, he is risen, indeed!”
When are you most used to saying this? Easter, right? It makes sense. Easter is, of course, when Jesus was raised from the dead; so, on Easter, we celebrate with this kind of call and response proclamation. But do you know what is really awesome? The fact that Jesus lives is just as much a reality today as it was on the first Easter morning over 2,000 years ago. The resurrection of Jesus is a reality we get to proclaim and celebrate, not just one Sunday a year but every single day.
Luke records at the end of his Gospel that after the disciples had witnessed Jesus ascend to heaven, the disciples “worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple blessing God.” The disciples were responding to reality. They had seen their Lord crucified, buried, and raised to life. They had spent 40 days with the resurrected Jesus before seeing him ascend to heaven. And their reaction to this reality was: worship and great joy.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is just as much a reality to us today as it was to the first disciples. They may have been eyewitnesses, but through the gifts of our faith—the Holy Spirit and God’s Word—we have a window through which we also can witness the reality of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Therefore, every day we also are able to respond with worship and great joy! The reality of the resurrection of Jesus brings us this great joy for a number of reasons:
- Forgiveness of Sin
- Fellowship with God
- Eternal Life
- Our Bodily Resurrection
- The New Heavens and New Earth
- And so much more!
But we have this great joy not just because of what it means for us personally but also for what it means for the whole world!
The reality of the resurrection means there is a sure and certain hope for all nations!
In Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and Acts 1, Jesus gave a mission to the church to take the great news of the gospel to all nations. His desire is that the news of his life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and for salvation through faith in him should be proclaimed to every people group in the world. This is a sure and certain hope for all nations. It is a sure hope in that it is designated to the nations and a certain hope in that it rests in the will and power of the risen Christ.
In Romans 10, Paul said that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but how will they call on one they have not believed? And how will they believe if they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone preaching? And how will they preach unless they are sent? This is why Jesus told us, “Go, make disciples of all nations.”
And thankfully he doesn’t send us out with this mission in our own power as though it depends on us, but he sends us out in his power. In Acts 1, Jesus said to the disciples: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The reality of the resurrection does not mean the potential hope for the nations but a sure and certain hope for the nations, because the mission was given by the risen Christ, is empowered by the risen Christ, and will be fulfilled by the risen Christ.
So as we live in light of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, responding with worship and great joy, let’s go and join God in what he is doing in taking the gospel to all nations. And as we go in light of the reality of the resurrection, let’s look forward to the worship and great joy we will one day share with our brothers and sisters from all nations.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”