Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Christ is Living

I sang this at a hymn festival a few weeks ago and haven't stopped thinking about it since. This hymn was written in Spanish and the music reflects that. But most importantly, the words remind us of the central message of our faith: Christ is living! Join me in reflecting on each of these verses over the next few days.

Christ is living! Gone with sorrow! Tears and terror be no more.

The men on the road to Emmaus discovered this in a most personal way - Jesus Himself appeared to them as they were walking.

And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad. Luke 24:13-17

They didn't know that it was Jesus who had joined them on their walk. Indeed, they were mourning the events of the last few days, the events that took their King to the cross and buried Him in a tomb. Jesus asks them what they're talking about, and they can't imagine that someone could have been in town and not know what was going on!

One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened." Luke 24:18-21

It is the third day since these things happened. By now, it seems these men have given up hope that Jesus the Nazarene could be the redeemer of Israel. Then the men relate the story of the women finding the tomb empty.

"But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see." Luke 24:22-24

They did not see Him, so they did not believe. They did not realize that the death and grave are now nothing! Christ is free of every power! He had risen from the grave, just as He told His disciples He would do.

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again." Luke 18:31-33

So Jesus rebukes the men on the road to Emmaus. And He explains all the things about Himself that the prophets have taught through the ages.

And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:25-27

Jesus wanted these men to look for the Savior who was in their midst, and no longer seek the living Savior in the haunts of death and fear. He can't be found there, because Jesus came to take away the power of death and the devil!

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14-15

No longer are we enslaved to the fear of death! Christ is risen!

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." Matthew 28:5-7

Let us go forth today, in the power of our risen Lord, and shout the good news so all the world will hear!

Christ is Living (Christo Vive)
Words by Nicolas Martinez, translated to English by Martin A. Seltz

Christ is living! Gone with sorrow! Tears and terror, be no more.
Death and grave, you now are nothing; Christ is free of every power.
Why then seek the living Savior in the haunts of death and fear?
Christ is risen! Shout the good news so that all the world may hear.

For if Christ is not arisen there is nothing to believe.
Truth be told, He keeps the promise: "Since I live you too shall live."
Dust we are, to dust returning, but in Christ we are restored.
Doubt dispelling, claim the triumph: Jesus is the living Lord!

Death is swallowed up in victory; sin has lost its poison sting.
Life will blossom from the grain sown,
Christ the first fruits of the spring.
For the sureness of salvation let us sing "Thanks be to God!"
Christ is risen! We are living! Spread the word of grace abroad.

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