1 Cor. 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead.
One Saturday afternoon just before Easter Sunday, I walked through an old cemetery to prepare my heart for preaching on the resurrection. The stone slabs were etched with names and dates as if to make one final attempt to lengthen the significance, memory, and influence of lives ended by death. That afternoon as the gentle, Spring breeze blew off the quiet lake nearby, the stark reality of the curse and the harsh finality of death scoffed at my faith and the sermon I had prepared for the next day.
In the midst of that desolate, deserted cemetery, there was one tombstone that stood out from the others and arrested my attention. Like the others, the front of that white, marble monument gave the name and the dates of a man’s life; but the back expressed a powerful three-word phrase that brought light and hope to my heart and a joyful “Hallelujah” tumbling from my lips in the face of the devil’s scoffing sneer. The line?
“He Is Risen.”
He is risen! That’s it; but that’s all that’s needed. He is risen! That’s the one brilliant light that dispels the darkness of death, the despair of the grave, and the doom of the curse. He is risen! What a game changer. He is risen!
If He’s not risen, then He’s as helpless as the founders of other religions whose bodies lie decaying in hopeless tombs. If He is not risen, then we believe in vain, we’re yet in our sins, and we’re of all men most miserable.
“But now is Christ risen!” Since He is risen, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and no man can get to God apart from Him. Since He is risen, though we sorrow at the loss of loved ones, we sorrow not as others who have no hope. Since He is risen, we shall rise again even as He promised.
Hallelujah! What a Savior! He is risen!