Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778
Listen as you read. This is a short but beautiful cello version.
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What incredible hope we have! Because Jesus left His tomb empty, one day we will leave our grave the same, even if we taste death as He did. He lives again and in so doing has taken away the sting of death. It is difficult to wrap our hearts around this truth, but we must try for the hope it gives us as we face our own death, and deal with the loss of those we love.
There must have been a jarring finality to the stone being rolled into place to seal Jesus’ tomb. Most had fled, but Jospeh of Arimethea requested Jesus’ body and placed it in his tomb so the disciples knew where to return after the Sabbath on the third day.
It is hard for us to imagine what that morning was like as the women headed to the grave. They were planning to prepare Jesus body for burial, but must have wondered how they would move the stone, if they had even thought of that. We know what happened, so it is just tough to think about that approach to the tomb. But their perspective was about to change.
Can you put yourself in their shoes as they approach the tomb and find the stone rolled away? As they stood there in a flood of emotions, the angel answers the question they were thinking, “Where is Jesus?” He answers them with his own question.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Luke 24:5b-6a
Your glorious King is alive again! In that moment, everything changes. Their understanding of Jesus’ work is changed. Their thoughts about their lives moving forward changed. Our ability to face the certainty of death changed.
My father passed away a little over a month ago. Though I have believed in the resurrection for 27 years, never was it more important to me than in those first few days after my dad died and I began to grieve. What I have declared for years to be true, found a deeper expression in my soul as I used it to help me find comfort.
There were many things to take care of as we made arrangements for my dad’s funeral, including the opening and closing of his burial plot. There was a jarring finality to carrying his casket and placing it over his grave with my brother, sons, and nephews. Many who had come to the funeral were not able to attend this ceremony as we gathered to say our last goodbyes here on earth.
Though I could not have imagined how hard those last moments would be, the sadness and sacredness were intermingled. Everything was handled perfectly and created a wonderful moment honoring my dad, including a three-fold release of doves which took my breath away. There remains one detail though that we still need to care for, his tombstone.
At some point we will purchase a stone and have it engraved so that it can mark the final resting place of what remains of my father’s physical body. His remains. A part of him remains, but the best of him has gone on to his eternal home, because Jesus Christ has removed the sting of death.
For years when I thought of this, I had on my mind the way we think of death as we are looking toward and past it. What I have thought of in the last few weeks as I prepared to celebrate Easter was how the song of death is removed particularly as we look back on it. I have also thought of the different perspectives of our own death versus the death of those we love.
I find great comfort in knowing that my dad is better off by far, and the worst part is for those of us who have been left to mourn his loss. There is still a sting of death for us, but not so much for my dad. The same will be true for all who are in Christ whenever we face death.
Those we leave behind may need to place a stone to mark our grave, but we will not remain there any more than Jesus remained in His. If you have lost someone in the last year, or longer, find comfort in knowing that for them the sting of death has been removed, even though you can still feel it. May the Holy Spirit be that comfort, for we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
Jesus, thank You for leaving the tomb empty. Thank You for removing the sting of death for those who have gone before us into the eternal rest You have promised all who trust in You. Comfort us who grieve those losses, even as we wait to see our hope fulfilled. In Jesus name. Amen.
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Video 40.2 Transcript, 5.2 Reframed
Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
The angel asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Can you imagine what those women at the tomb must have been thinking? Praise Jesus for His victory over the grave.
Jesus, I praise You for Your victory over the grave.
Let there be no mistake, death is a painful experience, but truly only for the ones left behind, or unprepared. He has removed the sting of death for all who are trusting His to cover their sin. Glory to His name!
Jesus, thank You for removing the sting of death.
Because His was a perfect sacrifice, He did not need to die over and over again, like the sacrifices at the Temple, to pay the penalty for our sins. Once for all. Thank Him.
Jesus, thank You for dying once for all.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ rendered the grave defeated. Because of His Resurrection, the grave will not be able to hold us either, since He was the firstborn from among the dead, and we will rise victorious like Him. Praise our Glorious Resurrected King!
Jesus, I praise You my glorious resurrected King!
Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.
Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond. Until next time, Be Resonant.