In "The Great Thanksgiving" that we sometimes use for our communion liturgy, there’s this phrase where everyone is invited to "proclaim the mystery of faith" … "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again."
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. All three parts are essential!
The Apostle Paul talks about these three realities is 1 Corinthians 15.1-20.
Christ has died!
Jesus began preparing his disciples for the impending events that awaited him once they arrived in Jerusalem. Mark 8. 31 says, "Then Jesus began to tell them that he, the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and three days later he would rise again."
A little further along the journey, Jesus adds, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead." But they didn’t understand what he was saying, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant" (Mark 9.31b-32).
And finally, Jesus lays it all out one last time: "When we get to Jerusalem," he told them, "the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, beat him with their whips, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again" (Mark 10.33-34).
And it happened just as Jesus predicted!
Christ has risen!
"If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless." (1 Corinthians 15.14)
The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith! If there was no resurrection, then we have no hope, no salvation, no eternal life, and no faith! Everything rises and falls on the resurrection!
Christ has died; Christ has risen.
Christ will come again!
Read 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
Our hope is that Jesus died for us, that he rose from the dead, and that he will come back again!
How will you respond?
Jesus once had a revealing conversation with one of his closest friends, Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask." Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again." "Yes," Martha said, "when everyone else rises, on resurrection day." Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish" (John 11.21-26).
That’s a wonderful conversation. But Jesus final question drives home the need for a response: "Do you believe this, Martha?" What about you? Do you believe this? What will you do about it? How will it change the way you live your life?
O God, "In remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again." Thank you for loving the world so much that you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Help us to live our lives as your disciples in light of this story. May it truly change our lives so that we will, in turn, change this community for your honor! Amen.
For Reflection …
Notice the disciples’ response, according to Scripture, upon hearing the news of Christ’s resurrection from the women who went to the tomb. Scripture says "the story sounded like nonsense, so they didn’t believe it" (Luke 24.10-11). What about you? How does this story sound to you? Have you rejected this story as a fairy tale? Or have you embraced the story as Truth? And how will it affect the way you live your life from this point forward?