I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:21-24 KJV)
Yes, we will rejoice! Three days before the Resurrection, our Lord said:
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30 KJV)
He had accomplished what He was born to do. What happened next is what He had told the disciples to expect:
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. (Matthew 17:9 KJV)
He is risen. He is risen, indeed! That’s why we worship on the first day of the week. That’s why we have hope. It does become a stumbling block to many, but for us it is the foundation – the cornerstone – of Christian faith.
I often wonder why that message is so hard for some people to take in. Recently I read a review of C. S. Lewis’ book, “Surprised by Joy” and the reviewer summarized:
… by saying that in childhood, he preferred logic over emotion and magic, and religion seemed foolish because it seemed hard to believe that God could fail so miserably at a poorly-made, horribly flawed world - or in making religion unclear and unconvincing.
Lewis goes into detail as to how he moved from atheism to a belief in God’s existence. It was an atheist professor’s adherence to logic that helped Lewis move toward Christianity, but this book stops before that step. This book, along with Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, are excellent reading material for both non-believers and believers, addressing issues both discuss.
Lewis found the joy I, too, found in knowing Jesus fulfilled prophecy in His resurrection. This is the day we share with the world that He is risen. He is risen, indeed, as the women who went to the tomb heard from an angel:
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. (Matthew 28:5-7 KJV)
Or, as Luke tells it:
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, (Luke 24:3-8 KJV)
This should remind us, too, that Jesus told of both His death and His resurrection. We have the same message they received – and told others throughout their lives. This is the day we remember, too, He is risen. He is risen in deed.