PILOT KNOB LUTHERAN CHURCH BRIEFINGS
VOLUME 86 APRIL 2017
Easter is nearly upon us and unlike Christmas, Easter isn’t given a three month introduction on T.V., stores and radio. Easter for some sneakes up with little warning. Yet without Easter we would be without hope of eternal life. Death would have the last word and would be the greatest thing to fear.
Revelation 1:17-18. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. At first glance it looks like the title Alpha and Omega and The Living One would be synonymous. While both titles refer to Jesus’ eternalness, First and Last refers to Christ’s eternalness in relationship to his bride, the church. It’s a reflection and fulfillment of Isaiah 44:6; 48:12 where God says to Israel as their King and Redeemer, “I am the First and I Am the Last.” When Jesus uses this title for himself he gives John the assurance that, as the eternal one, he is his savior and consequently John should not be afraid.
Jesus also identifies himself as the Living One. This too is a title used in the Old Testament in contrast to idols that were never alive or had an existence except in the fanciful imagination of the worshiper.
Yes, today we also have idols that we look to for safety, security and wisdom in navigating through the various challenges of daily living. These idols in essence take the place of God in our heart yet they can’t deliver anyone from death’s cold grip. Nor are these modern day idols eternal, they are as temporal as our very lives.
Revelation tells us this Jesus died and according to the historical facts recorded by the four gospels he was placed in a sealed tomb. The Roman soldier who witnessed the crucifixion assured his death by thrusting a spear into his side close to the heart. However, unlike everyone else Jesus did not remain in the tomb. No human let him out or rolled away the stone. God himself moved the stone and Jesus, the God-Man walked out in perfect health with only scars remaining in his hands, feet and side.
No other religious leader in world history has returned from the dead; they remain in the grave until one day they and all of us will hear the voice of God and rise to eternal life or eternal hell. Because Jesus conquered death he holds the keys to death and the grave. By doing so he demonstrates that there is only one true God, the God who now reaches out to all through Jesus Christ in order to bring eternal life to all who will surrender to him.
Since Jesus alone has the keys of death so it is futile to try and escape death and bondage from Satan on our own. To reject Jesus as our God and Savior is to set our lives on a course that ends in death. Whereas surrendering to Christ sets our lives on a course that ends in resurrection life.
Celebrate the miracle of Easter, it is truly the only hope given to mankind.
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