The Pastor’s Thoughts — April 9, 2023, Easter Sunday

April 4, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“He is raised from the dead.”

He is RISEN, Alleluia! Alleluia! In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that if Christ had not been raised from the dead, our faith is in vain. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are still separated from God.

We now see that Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection bought eternal life with God for us. Long before His passion and crucifixion, Jesus rescued Mary Magdalene from her demons and gave her another chance at life as His disciple. He forgave Peter for his denial of Him during His passion and gave Peter another chance as His Apostle. It was Jesus’ obedience to His Father’s will, in His suffering, death and resurrection that gave all of mankind another chance at life with God.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead has changed everything! It has changed forever our relationship with God. A relationship with God that Adam and Eve lost for all of mankind by disobedience. A relationship with God that has gone from outcasts to His adopted children.

Mary Magdalene did not realize what had taken place three days after Jesus’ burial in the tomb. When Peter and John arrived at the empty tomb, it was John who saw and believed. Why did John believe? He too, did not yet understand Jesus’ rising from the dead. Yet, John knew that his faith in Jesus was true, that his faith in God’s promise to send Israel a Savior was justified. The Father, out of love, gave us His only Son. His Son, out of love, gave His life for us. He sacrificed His Body and shed His Blood for our salvation, so that we could have life as adopted sons and daughters of the Father through our Baptisms.

In Christ and in His resurrection, a new hope dawns for mankind. The hope that if we stay united to Him in truth, through faith and grace, we will also rise in Him, from our tombs. Then, we will live with Him and in Him forever in the eternal peace of heaven.

No one else offers such a hope, because no one else has risen from the dead to be able to offer it, only Jesus. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, our faith is in vain. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, He would have no more authority over our lives than any other person from history.

But He did rise from the dead! Now, Easter has dawned, with the eternal victory of the Resurrection. The tomb is empty. The stone is overturned. The shadow of the cross is replaced by the morning light of a new life in truth. Christ’s apparent failure that led to His death has risen in victory. We now have another chance at life with God.

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