COVER STORY – Easter Glory!
Is there any more glorious day than Easter? Christ is risen from the dead! From the DEAD! What is more dreadful or final than death? Death is a bleak reminder of the horror of our sin, the wages of which must be paid. It violently tears the soul from the body. It tears a loved one from family and friends. No one has power to stop death. No one can escape it, or even lessen its blow. No one can release death’s grip.
No one except Jesus!
Jesus said that He has power to lay down His life and power to take it up again. (John 10:18) He proved it when He rose from the dead. He conquered death for us. Praise be to God Who gives us the victory! What a glorious event!
That being said, do you ever wonder why Jesus didn’t show Himself to everyone? After all, His suffering and death were on public display. He was crucified near Jerusalem where everyone could see His agony and disgraceful death. Why didn’t He go and stand in the Temple and show everyone that He was alive? He won the victory. Why not appear to the whole world as He did to Saul, shining brighter than the sun? Let the world see that He is the Son of God!
Instead, He appeared to only a select few. Enough to provide plenty of reliable witnesses, but very few compared to all the people of Israel or the world. When He did appear, His glory was still hidden in His human nature. The angels in the tomb appeared more glorious than Jesus. Why not show His glory now that His work was accomplished? Wouldn’t that bring many more to faith?
God, in His wisdom, chose to hide Jesus’ glory from sight and reveal it in His Word. Already on Easter day, God was directing His disciples to His trustworthy Word. The angel told the women, “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee . . . .” (Luke 24:6) When Jesus appeared to two disciples in a form they didn’t even recognize, He said, “‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!’ . . . And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27) “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21) We can see the glory only in His infallible Word.
Thank God that He chose to do so. The brightness of His glory is always terrifying to sinful people, but He comes to us in His Word and says, “Don’t be afraid.”
Tomorrow you will still have troubles and temptations, but Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid. I died for you and rose again and I will be with you always. You are still weak and will fall into sin, but I died for your sins.” “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2)
You still live in a world that hates God. “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The grave still lies ahead of you, but don’t be afraid, Jesus has already conquered it completely and taken the sting out of death. “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19)
The day is coming when you will see Jesus in His full glory and not fear, for then you shall share His glory in perfect holiness. Until then, continue to see His glory hidden in His Word and promises. The world still cannot see it, but you see it and rejoice in this Easter Glory.
David Reim is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vernon, British Columbia.