Easter Day! Today we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, the crown of all our joys and the bedrock on which our faith rests. As it is written,
“He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
This phrase, “firstborn from the dead,” does not mean that Jesus’ resurrection chronologically preceded all others; indeed, many preludes to the ultimate Resurrection have been recorded in Scripture for our benefit. Elisha breathed life into the body of a young child, and he awoke and was restored to his mother. Ezekiel prophesied to a valley strewn with dry bones, and at God’s command they were clothed with flesh and stood on their feet, a mighty army ready to do His bidding. Jesus Himself raised Lazarus from his tomb of decay and Jairus’ daughter from her deathbed, both by the irresistible power of His divine call.
However, Jesus’ resurrection is preeminent because it surpasses these shadow-examples in every way. Jesus was the first to rise in eternal victory over death:
“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”
All other resurrections were accomplished by the command of another, but Jesus brought Himself back to life by the word of His own unstoppable authority:
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
“No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
And most glorious of all, His resurrection is the wellspring of eternal life for all those who are in Christ:
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Those of us who will be raised up at the last day and transformed into His likeness will do so because we are participants in His death and resurrection:
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Thank you, Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world, that You alone give life to the dead and call into existence the things that do not exist!
“It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”