“We Were There”
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
There is a danger in celebrating Easter as an historical event. Over 2,000 years separate that event from our present day. We can be tempted to let that span of time freeze Easter in history. It can become a look back to a great event, a remembrance that Jesus rose for us back then. But today, life goes on. We can be left to wonder what it all has to do with pandemics and economic chaos. Easter can be a warm feeling for an hour one Sunday of the year, and that’s just how the enemy wants it.
The Apostle Paul gives us a very different view of Easter. There are three phrases in the Colossians text that explode the myth that Easter is a celebration of a past event. “You have been raised with Christ.” This is a past tense statement that eliminates the time span of two millennia and places us at the empty tomb. When Jesus took on our humanity in the incarnation, our life became inextricably connected to His. Time loses all meaning. There is no separation. Easter is not just the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, it is a joyful recognition that it is our resurrection as well. We were there!
Paul goes on to say that, not only, were we raised with Christ, but that, “you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” This is a present tense statement, meaning that this is the reality of our life today! Dead to self. Living in Christ. Hidden with Him in heaven. Amazing! This means we can face the challenges of this present crisis knowing that we cannot lose our life because we’ve already lost it. We cannot have anything taken from us, because our life is hidden with Christ. We are stewards. We are secure. We are safe. We are confident. And we are free.
Finally, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” This is a future tense statement. It seals the deal. Christ is our life! In Galatians 2:20 Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” That is the ultimate profession of the faithful steward. Our life is not our own. Everything about us belongs to Christ.
We died with Him.
We rose with Him.
We now live in Him and He in us.
And we will appear with Him in glory.
In the meantime, we are here. Stewards in a chaotic world. We are here in the fear, the uncertainty, the anguish and the anger. We are here in the despair, the anxiety, the panic, and the growing hopelessness. And we can be the presence of Christ here, because we were there!
This Easter, may we celebrate that we have been raised with Christ. May we be encouraged and strengthened in the certainty that our lives are hidden with Christ in God. And may we be made ready to go out and serve, to proclaim and witness this truth, looking forward to that day when Christ, who is our life, appears and we will be with Him in glory.
May Easter Joy Be Yours!
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.