A HYMN OF GLORY LET US SING
Do you remember the last time you felt elated? If you’re an avid Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, it was probably this past February 7th, when “your” team won Superbowl LV. Maybe it was when you caught your largest-ever walleye or bagged a whitetail buck with Boone and Crockett record book antlers. Perhaps you felt elated simply if the Thanksgiving turkey you roasted turned out juicy instead of dry.
How odd it is that we feel exuberant over such relatively unimportant events, and yet may at times fail to feel even greater jubilation in connection with an event which is of infinite importance and eternal consequence for each us—the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter morning! It may be that we simply don’t clearly see and personally apprehend the significance of that Easter event to our own lives.
If you’re a Buccaneers fan, at the end of the game you might have exclaimed, “We won! We won!”—even though your own part in that “we” didn’t really contribute anything to the victory. In like manner, we are victors in Christ’s resurrection, and can rejoice jubilantly in it, even though we actually played no part in winning that victory. It is as C.F.W. Walther wrote in an Easter sermon based on Mark 16:1-8: “We are the ones for whom Christ went into battle, and therefore we are the ones who in Him have won the victory. We were the ones whose bonds He took upon Himself, and therefore we are the ones who in Him are now free. We were the ones whose disgrace He took upon Himself, and therefore we are the ones who in Him have now obtained glory.”
The hymn “Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!” expresses the exuberant joy befitting Christians in connection with Christ’s resurrection. “Jesus lives! Let all rejoice! / Praise Him, ransomed ones of earth / . . . Praise the Victor-King whose sway / Sin and death and hell obey.” (Verse 2)
If you are a Buccaneers fan, maybe you won some sort of “bragging rights” over your Chiefs fan brother-in-law when “your” team won the Super Bowl. But consider the prize you have won because of your Savior’s resurrection: “Jesus lives! And thus, my soul, / Life eternal waits for thee; / Joined to Him, thy living Head, / Where He is, thou, too, shalt be; / With Himself, at His right hand, / Victor over death shalt stand.” (Verse 4)
The resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning is your guarantee that you, too, shall rise from death to eternal life in heaven. “Hallelujah! Jesus lives! / He is now the Living One; / From the gloomy house of death / Forth the Conqueror has gone, / Bright Forerunner to the skies / Of His people, yet to rise.” (Verse 1)
If “your” team lost the big game, if you got skunked instead of catching that lunker walleye, if your venison harvest was only a spike buck, or even if your Thanksgiving turkey turned out dry, you still have abundant reason for rejoicing: “Jesus lives! To Him my heart / Draws with ever new delight. / Earthly vanities, depart, / Hinder not my heavenward flight. / Let this spirit ever rise / To its Magnet in the skies.” (Verse 5)
For all Christians, Easter is the guarantee of what my friend Don Bishop wrote at the back of his Bible: “We win!” Rejoice, Christian, in your Savior’s victory for you.
Craig Owings is a retired teacher and serves as assistant editor of the Lutheran Spokesman. He lives in Cape Coral, Florida.