The battlefield smolders with the wreckage of a kingdom bygone. The dead lay like flags of the victor's blows, marking a path to the lair of their fallen prince, castigated and conquered. A little band of men and women whose king has won this brawl are hiding in a secret room, weeping when they should be rejoicing. All they see is destruction, and they assume their captain has been lost. How wrong they are! How thoroughly he has banished the powers that he fought! They need only hear his words, "in three days, I will rise again."
1, while she weeps in the garden. Over there he is healing two disciples' broken-hearted doubts2, teaching them the scripture as they walk to Emmaus. And there he confirms the testimony3 of the ones who claim, "We have seen the Lord! He is risen!" Then, he is breathing out blessing on them, promising the coming of the comforter4. Now, we see him on the crest of the hill, issuing the command5 to his re-vitalized troops, "Go into all the world, teaching preaching and baptizing in my name." Now he is ascending to his intercessory post, where he labors continually6.
And we, generations later, are much the same. The destruction of sin around us tempts us often to give up hope. We wonder what the victory is, and where the victor. And here is Jesus, drying out tears, teaching our hearts, comforting and commissioning us. The carnage of battle around us is no sign of his retreat, but a reminder that the victory of his kingdom is immutable. Our Lord reigns forever, on the strength of his resurrection. He has utterly banished death and hell, and we stand in his glorious victory, shamelessly and boldly declaring the testimony of his reconciliation7. O bless his holy name, you people. Praise him that he has called you, who were unworthy and his enemies, to be children, then soldiers, then heirs of his kingdom and life. March on, brother and sister, in the strength of his mighty resurrection. His grace is sufficient for you, and his strength is perfect.
1) John 20:16; 2) Luke 24:13-31; 3) Luke 24:35-36; 4) Luke 24:49; 5) Matthew 28:19; 6) Hebrews 7:25; 7) II Corinthians 5:20-21