He Is Risen! Nothing Is More Important.

Posted by Chris Tornquist on March 8, 2024
He Is Risen! Nothing Is More Important.
"What Life Is Made Of"—this collage by Erin Dougherty is made up of the mundane, everyday things of life that so often distract us from the most important thing, Christ and His resurrection.
For I handed down to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures … and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins… If we have hoped in Christ only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied.
— 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 17, 19 (NASB)

A popular buzz-phrase is “set your priorities.” That’s not bad; in fact, it is very good advice. If I have a water leak under the kitchen sink, the first step is not to go shopping for new flooring. The priority is to stop the leak! While that seems obvious, other issues in life, sometimes even in the Christian life, can be more difficult to prioritize.

Except for this one: He is risen!

Oh, how easy it is to get distracted with lots of other good things surrounding Easter. They can so easily derail us from the most important proclamation. Or, perhaps more likely as believers, we can “assume” the resurrection and lose this most stunning, central event of our entire lives in Christ, indeed in the history of the world. We dare not treat it as “old news” or “yeah, I know that.” If we do, our priorities are tragically wrong.

“We dare not treat it as ‘old news’ or ‘yeah, I know that.’”

Go back to the tomb with me for a moment on that first Resurrection Day. The followers of Jesus were in shock. The events of the past few days numbed them with questions, fears, and dashed hopes. Disciples left and abandoned Jesus on the cross, even denied knowing him in recent days. And now on the third day, a combination of grief and love took the women to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. They were so overwhelmed by emotion that the reality of the obstacles of the virtually unmovable heavy stone in front of the tomb and soldiers guarding it apparently never crossed their minds.

Matthew focuses on one woman and Luke says others joined her, but the message is the same. “Where have you taken him?” was the cry of the women. They didn’t think, “Well, He told us He would rise from the dead, so we didn’t really expect to find His body here anyway.”

I don’t criticize the women. The horror they experienced understandably had them confused. Jesus said He would die, but on an execution stake? The mere thought of the Messiah being killed that way along with violent criminals was more than they could comprehend.

We must not miss the connection between the angelic proclamation at Jesus’ birth and the angels’ words at His resurrection. The shout of the angel to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth brought news of “glad tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). Two angels made the announcement at the empty tomb, declaring the news of “He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6). It’s pure speculation, but I wonder if one of the angels at the tomb was the same one who announced Jesus’ birth, and a companion was also sent along because of the importance of the message of the resurrection!

“the news that is of first importance… frees you from your sin and despair.”

The women went to pay their respects, and they were rewarded with the stunning message. And what did they do? “So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Matthew 28:8). And on the way, Jesus appeared to them and said simply, “Greetings!” or “Rejoice!” or “Peace!” (the word can mean all three). That’s all they needed: to see Him and hear that word out of His mouth.

The announcement at Jesus’ birth and the one at His resurrection both resound with “great joy.” And in each case, the news was and is profoundly life-changing.

Has the news of “He is risen” become too familiar to you? I hope not. Do you still shake your head in awesome wonder? Is your heart moved every time you hear the story? Oh, I pray that it will always be so!

Perhaps you don’t know Him yet. Jesus was born, lived, died on a cross for your sin, and rose again to win the victory for you. I beg of you, don’t hesitate to embrace Him. Bow your heart and give your life to Him. Don’t let this Easter go by without knowing the truth of Jesus Christ and responding to His invitation to forgiveness and eternal life.

It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that changes everything. I don’t need to remind you that life hurts; you know that all too well. You may have humanly insurmountable “heavy stones” facing you, and the world seems to be guarding you from being free from your burdens. The weight of sin and guilt can easily cause you to run and hide in fear. Your situation certainly can be devastating and make it seem like there is no hope or solution. But the news that is of first importance and filled with great joy moves the stone, shows the tomb to be empty, and frees you from your sin and despair.

Don’t get distracted. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t allow anything to crowd out the news. It stands alone far above and beyond anything else. Nothing else even comes close to the stunning truth:

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Chris Tornquist

Chris is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL (M.Div.) and has served as a pastor in churches in the Midwest. Chris and his wife Marty have been married for over 37 years. Chris currently teaches the Fundamentals of the Faith class and serves in the Prayer Ministry here at Faith Bible Church.

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