Resurrection changes everything

Published 9:10 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016

by Andrew Book

Happy Easter! While our society has made Christmas the “bigger” celebration, Easter Sunday is the day that confirms all that Jesus said and all that he did was true. While the cross has become the primary symbol of Christian faith, the cross (where Jesus died), without Easter (Jesus’ resurrection) is a declaration that death has actually won. Today, however, we declare that death has not won! The author of life came to this earth and gave himself over to death—but death could not hold him!

Jesus’ resurrection was a historical event, but when we gather on Easter Sunday we gather to declare that Easter is not just something that happened in the past and is done. Instead, it is an event that happened in the past and has effected every moment of life since then. The early church recognized that Jesus’ resurrection marked a turning point in all of history so significant that they changed the day we typically meet to worship as the church from the Jewish Sabbath day. Jews worshipped on the seventh day of the week when God rested from creating (Saturday). For thousands of years, Christians have focused on the day of the week when Christ rose from the grave (Sunday). So, the simple act of gathering as the community of faith on Sunday is a declaration that resurrection matters to us today!

More than just shaping the day when we worship, resurrection shapes the very way that we engage life. Hebrews 2 puts it this way:

14) Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (New Living Translation)

By dying and rising, Jesus broke the power of the devil and set us free from our fear of death. So much of our lives is often shaped by our fear of death and dying, but because we know Christ has gone through death and emerged victorious on the other side, we don’t have to be held captive by that fear.

Fear is a powerful motivator. It can easily control us and lead us down paths we don’t want to go (look at how politicians have been using fear to garner votes!), but because of the resurrection, we can trust that, however this life turns out, God is able to bring us through death to new life. Resurrection changes how we live today!

In the United Methodist Church, when we share communion, we say together what we call the “mystery of faith,” that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.” The words of this declaration, “Christ is risen,” puts Jesus’ resurrection in the present. We don’t say “Christ has risen” because while the resurrection did occur in the past, it is something that is still true today. Christ is Risen.

In fact, that declaration was how the early Christians greeted each other on Easter Sunday. “Christ is Risen,” they would say. “Christ is risen indeed!” they would respond.

So, on this Easter Sunday, I hope you will greet someone with those powerful words of hope and faith. “Christ is risen!” As you say them, remind yourself that, while the resurrection happened two thousand years ago, it matters today.

At Courtland United Methodist Church, we are gathering for worship at 7 AM at Shands Park and at 11 am in the sanctuary, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. In our worship, we are going to being to explore just how “Resurrection Changes Everything.” Over the next month, we will be looking at the different ways that resurrection impacts our lives today. We would love to have you join us if you are looking to find ways that resurrection impacts you. Wherever you find yourself today, worship the risen Lord, because Christ is risen!

ANDREW BOOK is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or