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Spiritual Matters

Truth and hope this Easter season

April 23, 2014 - We heard it many times in our worship yesterday as we celebrated in our Easter worship: He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! But what do those words really mean when we take time to think about them?

First, it means that the One we worship as God's Son, the Christ, fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, is not laying in some tomb.

The major religions of the world, the philosophies, and the governments will take you to a place and will show you the grave of their founder or former leader. There you will find a body—with the exception of the Christian faith. He has risen!

Even the Bible records how the people in Jesus' day tried to cover it up. In Matthew 27:62-65, we read 'The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first."

Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can."'' After the resurrection Matthew records: "While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.'"' (28:11-13)

Second, it means that these words are true fact to us. The word indeed is a solid statement that what we speak we believe to be true. Synonyms include surely, positively, undoubtedly, certainly and truly.

We, as Christians, believe that Jesus is alive, that He has defeated the power of death, and that, because of the resurrection we will live with Him in heaven forever!

Third, it is a reason for praise. Alleluia, literally Praise the Lord, is a response heard throughout the Christian church, especially on a day of celebration like Easter.

It becomes a song of praise on the lips of believers and a word of hope for those in despair as we think about all God has done for us.

Finally, it is our reason for hope.

St. Paul writes: "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) We believe that, as Jesus lives, so shall we.

He is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

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