“Dr. W. R. White, one of God’s great statesmen, told of a brilliant Chinese who came to services being conducted by a missionary. The young man asked for a New Testament and was given one. Later he came to confess Christ and gave this stirring testimony: “I took the New Testament home with me. I sat down on the floor and read it through before I did anything else. I have read the great writings of Confucius. I wanted to satisfy my hungry heart there. I knocked at the door but no answer came, for Confucius was dead. I read the message of Buddhism seeking that for which my soul so profoundly longed. I knocked at the door of Buddha but no answer came, for Buddha was dead. I read the Koran. My soul longed to find peace there. I knocked at the door but no answer came, for Muhammad was dead. I read the writings of the greatest patriots and religious leaders of the past, I knocked but no answer came. While reading the New Testament, I found that it claimed its author to be alive. I knocked at that door. I found the living Christ. He came into my soul. Here my hungry heart found peace for which it has longed.” (The Prairie Overcomer: The Living Christ, W. A. Criswell).
Christianity stands or falls upon this very fact of the resurrection. The Apostle Paul put it in another way. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15: 16-19).
Easter brings a message of hope and joy. The fact of Christ’s resurrection from the dead became the turning point in the lives of the early disciples. What has come into those early Christians as to transform them from a cowardly bunch of weaklings at one moment to being bold ambassadors of Christ at the next was baffling to say the least! The Church owes her very existence and perpetuity on this earth to the power of His resurrection!
“Christ has risen”, the early Christians would greet one another whenever they met. And the response was always a hearty and joyful exclamation, “He is risen indeed”! Yes Easter is a time of joyful celebration among Christians down through the centuries. And it will continue to be so should our Lord delay in His return for another century!
Alfred H. Ackley, writer of the hymn, “He Lives”, caught the essence of Easter. He wrote:
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, The Help of all who find, None other is so loving, so good and kind. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives to-day! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.
No wonder the Chinese man found the living Christ when he read the account of Christ’s life, death and resurrection in the New Testament.
Let his testimony challenge us to make this Easter become our very own experience.
"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Is Christ living in your heart today?
Pastor Robert Chew (firstname.lastname@example.org)