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He Has Risen Indeed!

by Cynthia Wilbur

He Has Risen Indeed!

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

I live across the street from an old church, and at that church is an old churchyard. That churchyard is the final resting place of many a past parishioner. When we first moved into our house, I wondered if living across from what amounts to a cemetery would be a bit morbid, but I have instead found the opposite to be true. Looking out from my kitchen window, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, making supper, my gaze always ends up in the old churchyard, with its old oak tree and its many old headstones. As I go through the up-and-down rhythms of my daily life, I am strangely comforted by the visual reminder that others have been in this place before me. Those saints, long-since gone to glory, once lived life as we do—day-in-and-out, with joys and triumphs, and with sadness and heartbreak. Reminders of those past grieving hearts are readily evident in the number of children’s graves scattered throughout the family plots. Many of the stones—for young and old alike—bear poignant epitaphs, reminders to the remaining loved ones that death is not the final end, but rather a momentary parting for those who rest in Christ.

I (and probably you) have stood at the graveside of a loved one and have felt that gnawing fear of death. That cold grasp that comes with the deceptive feeling of finality and the hellish whisper of despair. Here lies someone we loved. Here lies someone we miss. Here lies someone we long to have back. Here lies…

As a part of his healing ministry, Jesus raised the dead back to life. We have the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead as both a dramatic example of Christ’s power and as a foreshadowing of his own coming death on the cross. But Lazarus, like those others, was intentionally raised back to earthly, mortal life. He would once more die and be mourned, as he was before. Here lies Lazarus, gone and gone again.

Here lies…

Here lies the emptiness and brokenness of the world. Here lies the powers of the Enemy, and the temptations of self. Here lie narrow dreams and overwhelming burdens. Here lie all the things present and to come, the earthly powers, the heights, the depths, anything and everything in all of creation that separates us from the love of God. Here lies our sin. Here lies the way of the Cross. Here lies our dead Savior.

Here lies an Empty Tomb! Here stands a Risen Lord!

Here stands the Victorious Conqueror who triumphed over the grave! Here stands our Redeemer, who offered payment on our behalf! Here stands our Christ, who gives us the “strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of the love that is ours in Him, that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Here lives the hope of Good Friday and the joy of Resurrection Sunday! To Him be all glory and honor, forever and ever!

Happy Easter!

By Cynthia Wilbur

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