“Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” This Easter churches around the world will resound with that magnificent declaration, as they have for many centuries. It is a glorious truth, the very centre of our faith. But what does it prove that Christ is risen from the dead? It proves many things: that Jesus is the Son of God; that sins can be forgiven; that there is life after death; that death has been conquered; and more besides.
It also proves that there will be a day of judgment, and that Jesus will be the judge on that day. That was Paul’s message to some of the cleverest people in the Bible, the wise philosophers in Athens: “[God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
Perhaps this is an aspect of the resurrection that we would rather play down, or even forget? After all, it means we need to change our ways and specifically to change our thinking about God. As Paul says in the previous verse: “Now [God] commands all people everywhere to repent” (verse 30). It’s a message for all times! It’s very inclusive! No-one is exempt! Thankfully, we can repent – and be forgiven – because the Jesus whom God raised from the dead is the same Jesus whom God gave to die for the very sins for which we need to repent. Alleluia!
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)