« AnteriorContinuar »
it was, and it is. And the redemption is greater and more blessed than you have dreamed.”
No hopes are disappointed. No ambitions are unrealized. ties are broken. No love is fruitless. No despair is possible for the people of God.
Ther: are those among us who are living in that dull day after. Their hopes are in a tomb. Their thoughts are in the past. Their lives are with the dead. As if there had never been an Easter morning; as if triumphant faith had never said, “All things work together for good to them that love God,” as if the things that are seen are eternal; as if angelic voices had never spoken to faithless hearts, who think of buried hopes and buried love, the glorious, glad rebuke that declares there is no death of anything that is good: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen."
God does not sev ely rebuke us for our We are flesh and blood, and blows that fall upon us are real pain, and the day after is sad and heavy. But the day after is but a day. The gloom of that Jewish Sabbath never came back. The hearts of loving women and loyal disciples turned from that sepulchre without the gate, and so far forgot it that the later church could not recover it, and we know not its place with surety to this day. We do not need to know it. Christianity has but a passing reverent interest in Joseph's tomb. It only held the interest of the church for the brief period from Friday's sunset until Sunday's dawn. We live in the glorious later day that was after the morrow.
Then when we sorrow it must be never with the bitterness of hopeless sorrow. Things that are not seen are eternal. God sees them. He knoweth the end from the beginning. The good and the true and the
beautiful that come into the world heralded by advent angels cannot be entombed by Roman guards. The love of Mary, the mother, and of Mary, the Magdalene, cannot end in a sepulchre. The loyalty of earnest men who are looking for the reign of righteousness cannot be mocked by death. In truth, Jesus is not dead even on the gloomy Saturday. The pallid body that loving hands entombed was not the Lord who called himself the resurrection and the life. He had told them, “Ye shall see me no more, because I go to the Father.” Men could nail him to the cross, but they could not lay him in a sepulchre. Truth and love and hope and faith are never buried. That is only to our dull sense, because we cannot see.
This, then, is the gospel for us, breaking from the untold story of that Sabbath after the crucifixion: Sorrow not as those that have no hope; the Easter morning is coming; you have buried nothing that shall not return; and the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.
Easter Sunday-Tbe Resurrection Revelation
There are some who think a belief in the resurrection unimportant to Christianity. They say that should still have the teaching and the personality of Jesus, and our religion would stand in these. But it is by no means certain that anyone would have preserved for us the teachings of Jesus, or have given us the portraiture of his personality, if there had been no resurrection. To be sure other good men have lived and died and their words and deeds have been recorded without the inspiration of any such extraordinary event, But no other man ever raised such mighty hopes; no other death ever dashed in pieces such glorious expectations. Jesus was either all the disciples had desired or he was but a sad memory of a hope misplaced. Only the certainty that they had not been wrong in thinking of him as the Divine Saviour could have encouraged them to live his life, to follow his ideals, to preach his gospel, to make his kingdom their highest good, and to leave to us the records of their faith.
The resurrection of Jesus made Christianity. And faith in the resurrection is of supreme moment still. We need not be too much concerned to define the exact nature of that glorious, mysterious event. Our faitb is not dependent on our ability to put into harmonious story form the various accounts of the appearances of Jesus. It is not the body of the Risen Christ that has significance for us. The supremely important fact is that the same Jesus who cried at Friday's setting sun, “Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit,” was alive at Sunday's dawn; and that those who loved him knew-not guessed, or hoped, or trusted, but knew_by evidence indubitable that he was alive. And the importance of this great fact is not that it is a miracle, but that it is a revelation. The resurrection is revelatory of God, it is revelatory of Christ, it is revelatory of humanity. After all what do we know about God? “The heavens declare the glory of God And the firmament showeth his handiwork.”
But what of the earthquake, the storm, the fire? Do the glorious, beneficent forces of nature reveal God? Do the destructive, seemingly pitiless, forces of nature speak of him also?
“Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways:
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. We have seen God in the face of Jesus Christ. We are all persuaded that if God be as good as Jesus we shall be satisfied. In the midst of sad experience we have said: If there were but a God as kind as Jesus, that compassionate healer of the sick, that giver of bread to the hungry, that speaker of peace to the penitent heart, that believer in the eternity of goodness—if there were but a God like Jesus! And Jesus' constant declaration was that God was like him: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He spoke strongly and surely that he knew "God. He felt within himself the presence of the eternal, and declared that his own life and words and works were but the expression of his Father. To a world baffled, dazed, uncertain, Jesus offered himself as the full revelation of the character of God. And the Christians, ten thousand times ten thousand, have been satisfied with a great faith in the unseen God whom they have called “Father in Heaven,” because they have believed that he is like unto the glorious, gracious personality of Jesus.
But suppose Jesus were wrong? Great and good as he was, he might have been mistaken. He lived so well, but, like all others that are born of woman, he died. And that is the end so far as anyone can know. And there may not be any good God after all.
Yes, if he died and that is the end, then we do not know. But if Jesus' sublime faith were well founded, that the life he lived is the life of God, and is eternal, then he did not die and come to an end. He lived, and in his life beyond the cross he lived with God. And his own faith in the eternal Father was justified. And
further, by any means it could be possible that we should know that he still lived after the tragedy of Golgotha, we should know that he had been right in his revelation of God. · Could the Almighty in any way thus attest the words of Jesus, could he through the veil that hides the unseen show us that Jesus is alive forevermore, then he would assure us of himself.
That is the significance of the resurrection. The mariner trusts the compass, and his safe arrival in port is the vindication of his confidence. The bird of a season follows in the autumn the instinct of inigration, and its happy coming to the sunny clime is the vindication of that impulse. The woman trusts her love and goes with the man of her heart to the altar, and the beauty of a true wedded life is the vindication of her faith. Jesus believes that life is more than meat and the body than raiment, he is faithful to the God whom he trusts even unto death, and his resurrection in eternal life is the vindication of his faith, while his ap