This article will be published a day or two after Easter Sunday so for followers of Jesus the events of the first Easter will still be fresh in our minds. Many churches on Easter Sunday will proclaim the festal shout:
“Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!”
The connection between the first two statements and Easter should be obvious. But what about the last one: Christ will come again!
For a period of 40 days after Christ’s Resurrection on the first Easter morning, he appeared to his disciples many times, giving them convincing proofs that he was alive. At the end of that period Jesus went to a mountain with his disciples. While they were there a cloud came and took Jesus out of their sight and he ascended into heaven.
Understandably his disciples were dumbfounded and stood gazing into the sky watching as their Lord and Master disappeared before their eyes. Immediately two angels appeared and said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Traditionally the church celebrates this event on Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter. Nevertheless the Easter Festal shout anticipates Christ’s return because that is the climactic day that followers of Christ look forward to. That is the day when all our hopes and expectations in Christ will be fully realised. That is the day when all injustices will be righted, all pains will be healed, all sorrow will finally cease.
It is also the day when all mankind will stand before Christ to give an account for their deeds. His followers need have no fear of this judgement because Christ’s death has made a way for our wrongdoings to be forgiven. Not so for those who have not put their trust in him.
The joyful, festal shout on Easter morning is entirely appropriate because we look back with gratitude to Christ’s death and resurrection and look forward to the hope that this offers us. If you don’t yet have this hope then ask God to give it to you.
This blog post featured in the April 2016 edition of Hook Focus
I have recently obtained copies of a book entitled ‘The Servant Queen and the King she serves’ which recounts the journey of faith that our Queen has taken over the 90 years of her life. It is an interesting read and vividly describes how she has looked to Christ as a source of comfort and strength throughout her long life. It reminded me of a story that is told about Queen Victoria who also was a woman of faith.
It is recorded that in the year of Victoria’s coronation she attended a public performance of Handel’s oratorio ‘The Messiah’. Traditionally during the famous ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ the audience rise to their feet as a mark of respect and honour for Christ. Queen Victoria however was advised by her courtiers that it was her royal prerogative to remain seated. As the chorus began and the audience rose, a struggle took place in the Queen’s mind. Should she observe court etiquette or should she honour the Lord she loved. As the choir sang the inspiring words: ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords’, she rose and stood on the royal Box bearing witness to Christ the Lord. On another occasion she uttered the words ‘Oh, I wish He would come today, so that I could lay my crowns at His feet!’
Both these queens enjoyed the longest reigns of any English monarch. Queen Victoria ruled over the British Empire in its heyday, and Queen Elizabeth II has presided over the British Commonwealth. Yet despite the pomp and pageantry associated with their positions both women have publicly stated that there is a far greater King, a king that they love to honour and serve. That king is Jesus Christ.
In Philippians we read these words: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
One day every knee will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. Everyone from the greatest to the least will declare that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is wonderful to know that England’s longest reigning monarchs were pleased to set aside their earthly majesty to honour Christ.
What about you? Are you pleased to own Him as King of kings and Lord of lords?
This blog post featured in the April 2016 edition of Lifelines