To pastors and churches of the BCBA,
CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!
Perhaps now more than at any other time in history since the death and resurrection of Christ, we are able to understand some of the emotions of the early disciples. The world as they knew it was changed forever and nothing they could do would bring it back. The intense sorrow of loss and disillusionment as they saw their Lord crucified (“Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. When he had said this, he breathed his last – Luke 23:46). And then the confusion but elation as they saw him alive and walking among them (Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us – Luke 24:32). And then the overwhelming joy and praise as Christ blessed them and (was taken up into heaven – Luke 24:51).
Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49. They “worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple praising God. Luke 24:52-53
It’s all different and it’s all new! They were going into unfamiliar and uncharted territory. It would be dangerous. It would be confusing. It would be wonderful. It would be led by the Holy Spirit. It would result in praise and glory to the risen Christ. It would see millions of people come to understand what the good news of the gospel was all about. It meant that the attachment to the synagogue, the building, the structure, the old ways were gone. It meant that the old wine skins could not hold the new wine. It meant martyrdom and persecution. It meant freedom and healing. And in it all Christ will be glorified and lifted up.
The world as we have known it has changed and there is nothing we can do to bring it back. We are in unfamiliar and uncharted territory. Allan Roxburgh quotes a poem written by Antonio Machado (1875-1939). The English translation of the Spanish work says this: “Traveler, there is no path. You create the path as you walk”.
Wanderer. your footsteps are the road and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
Waking makes the road, and turning to look behind
you see the path that you will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road, only foam trails on the sea.
(Campos de Castilla, 1912)
This is our new world; confusing and exciting just like when the early disciples experienced the death and resurrection of Christ. Our road is new, but we walk in the power of the Spirit and leadership of the risen Christ. May the death of Christ’s followers point to the hope we have in Christ. And may the life we live point to the grace and forgiveness we have because Jesus rose from the dead.
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because he lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!