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Easter Images

Do you ever get tired of looking at pictures of bygone days? Perhaps. It all depends on whose pictures they are. If they are someone else’s pictures of people you don’t know very well or people who have had no impact on your life, then one look is enough. However, if they are your pictures and contain images of people who have been involved in your life, then you might like to look at them over and over again.

Here’s a picture: the sun rising upon Calvary, its rays lighting three empty crosses. In the distance, we see a group of women making their way to a cemetery. Are you tired of that picture?

Here’s another: soldiers lying trembling on the ground, and before them is an empty tomb with the stone rolled away. Are you tired of that picture?

And another: a woman stands near the grave, weeping, while a man stands near her and says, “Mary.” Are you tired of that picture?

One more: people are gathered together in a room with locked doors; a man is standing in their midst, showing them His hands and feet and saying, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself.” (Luke 24:39)

We never get tired of the images that Scripture presents to our minds: images of a triumphant, living Savior; images of people whose lives were wondrously changed by this truth. Men, women, and children are never the same after the risen Lord is revealed to their hearts. As it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We do not tire of such images because of their deep impact on our lives. Our whole life—our thoughts, our behavior, our hope, our death—everything rests upon the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. What sad creatures we would be if this were not true. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20) Therefore, we are not to be pitied.

In fact, we pity those who do not believe. Who among us knows what our lives would be like, if we did not believe that Jesus has risen? How miserable we would be, if there were no real images of the living Savior in our minds and hearts. Like the world, we would be living in “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies.” (Galatians 5:19-20) This wretchedness would plague our consciences, leaving us in constant fear of death. All thanks and praise to God, Who has rescued us from our old life of wickedness and has achieved a spiritual metamorphosis within us!

God grant unto us that we never get tired of hearing the Easter message. May the mental images of the Easter story fill our minds and hearts, so that we rejoice in the truth that He “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 4:25-5:2 ESV)

John Pfeiffer is retired from the pastoral and teaching ministry. He is a former president of Immanuel Lutheran College.