A guest post written by Anne Stearns Condon
The words of an angel announcing, “He is risen,” are immediately known to every Christian. They symbolize the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Master Christian.
The reverence of Easter celebrates Christ’s victory over death. The Cross he carried represents the Crucifixion, in all its cruelty, of this just and righteous Savior. Yet his great triumph enabled him to exchange the crown of thorns for the majestic crown of spiritual rejoicing. His immortal glory continues throughout the generations to affect the entire world in its timelessness.
Why does Christ Jesus’ life and message completely capture people? The Book of Hebrews says that God anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows, because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity. And there are three occurrences in his life that set him apart from every other person. 1) He was born of a virgin. 2) He was without sin. 3) He overcame death. And we honor him in that uniqueness with gratitude and praise.
People responded to Christ because he lifted their spirits, raised their thoughts above materiality, gave them hope, and freed their minds and bodies from every kind of malady. He enabled his followers of yesterday and today to rise above themselves, to seek and win the kingdom of heaven – God’s eternal home.
Jesus taught with utter simplicity which gave his words clarity and power. The core of his teachings are found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7, in what has been called the Sermon on the Mount. They include the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Golden Rule.
One of Christ Jesus’ staunchest supporters and truest followers was Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in the nineteenth century. On this very subject she wrote, “To my sense the Sermon on the Mount read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week, would be enough for Christian practice.”
With all of the love he expressed, with the eternal truth he demonstrated, why was he even crucified? Because of the attitude of cultural conceit and hatred of the truth he taught. The elite of his time felt superior, and when they saw the people flock to him for healing, it inflamed their egos. He threatened their authority, their pride and their power. At every turn they tried to accuse him of disobeying their laws and to embarrass him among the people. He must be stopped; so they bore false witness against him.
And how did this man of peace respond? “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24).
After three days in the tomb Christ emerged victorious. He had laid down his life for all mankind and conquered death. This spirit of ultimate sacrifice made him the Way-shower.
Today the words, “He is risen,” bring inspiration to the ascending footsteps of his followers, reaching for the freshness of a new and more spiritual life, while leaving the shallowness of materiality behind. A verse from a well-loved hymn is a ready aid in this journey upward:
“Let us sing of Easter gladness/ That rejoices every day,/ Sing of hope and faith uplifted;/ Love has rolled the stone away./ Lo, the promise and fulfillment,/ Lo, the man whom God hath made,/ Seen in glory of an Easter/ Crowned with light that cannot fade.”