For Christians, Easter is a time to rejoice! As Shane explains in today’s post, “We rejoice because our sins are forgiven. We rejoice because our Saviour lives. We rejoice because the Lord has overthrown the grave.”
Shane is a regular contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio through his program entitled “Wisdom for Fools”. Shane Johnson has been commended from Bethel-Park Bible Chapel since 1999. He resides in Brantford, Ontario with his wife Shelly and his five children. He has his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in History. His passions are teaching children, inspiring young people, writing, music and playing soccer.
Rejoice For He Is Risen!
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” Matthew 28:9
In a word, the message of the risen Saviour is rejoice! The women, fearful and confused, met the Saviour face to face as they made their way to tell the disciples what was the message of the angels. The absent soldiers, the broken seal, the empty tomb, all of it had overwhelmed the grieving followers of the Lord Jesus. But one word from the risen Saviour conquered all their tears. Rejoice!
Jesus Appears To His Followers
This moment captures the spirit of the resurrection. The women, broken hearted, heads bowed, thought the Saviour was dead. But rejoice, He is alive ever more! The women held Him by the feet and worshipped. Those feet, those beautifully pierced feet, were alive again. How beautiful are the feet of Him who brings good news!
The Saviour, proving His deity, did not refuse their worship. Any angel would have said, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God” (Rev.22:9). Not so the risen Lord Jesus. Of Him it is said, “Let all the angels of God worship Him!” (Heb.1:6)
Note as they went, Jesus met them. This was now the second time the Lord Jesus showed Himself risen from the dead. The first time was to Mary Magdelene, a few hours earlier. One after one, the risen Lord showed Himself alive to those who were grieving for Him – first to Mary, then to the disoriented women, then to the saddened men on the road to Emmaus, then to the fearful disciples hiding in the upper room. One by one He encouraged them all.
George Herbert, in his poem entitled “The Dawning” describes the effect of the resurrection on our sad hearts with these words: “Arise, arise, and with His burial linen dry thine eyes.” Is anyone sad? Let him bend down with Peter and look into the empty tomb. I guarantee you will stand up encouraged. Is anyone confused? Let him kneel down with the women and behold His nailed scarred feet. I guarantee your clouds of doubt will disappear. Is anyone lonely? Let him hear his own name spoken, along with Mary’s, as the Saviour emerges from the empty Tomb, saying: “Mary!” I guarantee you He will fill your heart with love.
Why Do We Rejoice?
Rejoice is the prime and primal word of the resurrection. Somewhere, deep down, that word resonates with our soul. Christ has done it, Christ has come and Christ has conquered. It is well with my soul, as the hymn writer said. What did the shepherd say when he found his lost sheep? “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” (Luke 15:6) Through the resurrection we share in the joy that was set before Him.
We rejoice because our sins are forgiven. We rejoice because our Saviour lives. We rejoice because the Lord has overthrown the grave. What does it mean? It means death no more has dominion over us. He did to death what He did to the Egyptians, “He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!” (Ex.15:1)
Like a tyrant, death has pursued us all our lives. Just as Pharaoh would not let the people go to worship God in the wilderness, so too, death would not let us go from its cold grip of fear. But the resurrection has changed all that. Now, we need not even fear death, for “death cannot keep its prey…He tore the bars away…Jesus my Lord!”
The Resurrection Changed Everything
As the disciples made their way to tell the others what they had seen, it was as if Christ blocked the way and commanded them to reinterpret their world through the lens of His resurrection. No more were they to fear. They were to rejoice. No more were they to despair. They were to hope. And no more were they to be saddened. Their Lord is risen, and that changes everything.
Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
You can listen to podcasts from Shane Johnson’s show, “Wisdom for Fools” here
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