“I serve a risen savior, he’s in the world today.” Those are the opening words to the hymn He Lives (Alfred Henry Ackley, 1933). Easter Sunday has come and gone, but Jesus is more than alive, he is risen! He was dead and became the firstborn of the resurrection. Jesus told Martha in John 11:25 that he is the resurrection. Death, hell and the grave have been defeated. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
I folded the purple and white linens and put them back in the plastic container yesterday, and took down the wooden cross from the front lawn of the church. Like packing up Christmas decorations they were put away until next year. For the true believer, Jesus is more than something we can put away until the next Christian holiday. Followers, disciples, just like those guys pictured above sitting at the table, “have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 Look at Romans 8:11 in the post image (click on it for full size if you need to). Ackley’s hymn goes on to say “You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart.”
If that’s really the case, if we are raised into new life in Christ, if the Holy Spirit dwells within, then Easter is only the beginning. 40 days after Easter on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on those gathered in the upper room and they went out into the streets and changed the world. They didn’t organize a committee or have a big fund raiser, they went out and proclaimed the Gospel! Peter preached that Jesus, killed at the hands of lawless men, was raised by God from the dead because he could not be held by it. 3,000 souls were saved on that day and the New Testament Church Age began. Jesus is alive today and that same Spirit lives in the heart of every believer.
After the resurrection Jesus gave his disciples what we know today as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (see Matthew 28:16-20) Gluing an ichthus emblem to the back of your car is a token gesture; we are called to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We certainly need to do more with Jesus than put him in a plastic container in a storage room.