“But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”
There’s a story told about many years ago in the atheist Soviet Union, that the communist in a particular city set up an auditorium to host an event where a leading atheist would lecture the community on atheism and then allow a local priest to have a few moments to respond to the charges against Christianity.
The priest and the people of the community were forced to stay in their seats as the atheist poured out his arguments and proofs for several hours until finally the old priest was allowed to come forward to the podium to attempt a rebuttal.
As the priest came forward to the dais, he looked over the crowd and simply said: “The Lord is Risen,” to which they all replied, “He is Risen Indeed,” much to the exasperation of the atheist speaker.
When Jesus died on the cross and when his body was placed in the tomb, many or most of his followers fell into disillusionment and disbelief. This is noted by the two men on the road to Emmaus, from the gospel of Luke chapter 24.
As they were walking along, they were discussing the recent events about Jesus, when unbeknownst to them, Jesus joined them and asked them what they were talking about. The men were astonished that this man knew nothing about the prophet Jesus who was arrested by the Pharisees and killed by the Romans and then placed in a tomb. And now it was the third day since he died, and he was supposed to have risen from the dead. Some of the women known to us and Jesus told us his tomb was empty, but we just don’t know.
After a lengthy discussion it was decided they would all stop and share a meal. When Jesus was beginning to pray, and as he broke the bread, they began to recognize him, but in that moment, he was gone. They said to one another: “didn’t our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us.” Because, like the angel had said to the women, “he is not here, he is risen!”
It is the resurrection that sets Christianity apart from all other faiths or religions. I hope that you also recognize the risen Christ and have received him as your Lord and Savior. As we enter the final days prior to our Resurrection Sunday celebration, I want to encourage your faith. May you be able to say with other believers today, that “The Lord is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!”