Christ is risen!
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” (Rev. 1:7, ESV)
Christ is risen! The word that was said is fulfilled, “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” (Jn. 16:16, ESV) Death proved to be powerless! Neither the stone of the tomb nor the Roman guards nor the close-textured linen cloths could separate Christ for a long time from those He loved. They saw Him again. Mary Magdalene whose eyes were full of tears saw Him, then did His fear-stricken disciples and even Thomas whose heart was weighed down by disbelief and doubt. They saw Him again!
And today, as we rejoice about an event that took place a long time ago, we’re looking forward with excitement to an event in the future when not only the chosen disciples, not only the myrrhbearers and the apostles, but absolutely every one of us weeping, frightened, and doubting people will see Him as it is written, “Every eye will see him. . .” We will all see Him, our Resurrected Lord who is coming with glory and great power not to cleanse sin again, but for the salvation of those who are waiting for Him.
Christ is risen! The Lord has overcome death! He has all power on earth and in Heaven, and today as we’re celebrating Easter in the midst of trials and sorrows, in the midst of many signs of the last times that are fulfilling, we have hope proclaimed to us: Christ’s victory over death is the victory of every one of us, His Resurrection is our resurrection! Trusting in the power and mercy of our Lord, we’re called to apply our hearts to the confession of Job: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19:25-27, ESV)
The joy of Easter is given to us so that, surmounting our fear, overcoming our dismay and dejection, we may strengthen our hearts with joyful hope and firm confidence in all the promises of the Resurrected One! May the Lord grant that, filled with the power of His Resurrection, we may make our journey here on earth in the newness of life and be firm in the faith as seeing Him who is invisible!
I wish you a happy Easter and wholeheartedly join in with the Apostle Peter who says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:3-9, ESV).
Christ is Risen! Amen!
Ivan Laptev, Bishop of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria