Readings for The Resurrection of our Lord – Easter Day, 2018 A.D.
Mark 16:1-8; Romans 6:1-9; Isaiah 25:6-9
Did you notice how I wrote the year? It’s 2018 A.D. A lot of people think that A.D. stands for “After Death” meaning the death of Jesus. But that isn’t the case. Others prefer the abbreviation CE, which stands for “Common Era” because it’s free of religious reference.
And I think that fairly well describes how many people think about Easter. Many Christians erroneously think that Jesus died and went to heaven just like other believers do. His rising from the dead, in that case, was either a temporary miracle or a purely “spiritual” phenomenon that left his body in the tomb. In that case, Jesus lives on, but only in the hearts and memories of his followers. The Easter miracle was only “one shining moment” (to borrow from the NCAA). Many others dismiss belief in Jesus’ resurrection as an embarrassment. They believe it has no place in a modern society that considers itself intellectually serious.
In fact, the letters A.D. stand for “anno Domini” which is Latin for “Year of our Lord”. And this gets to the heart of what really happened on that first Easter morning. “He has risen! He is not here!” the angel tells the women at the empty tomb (Mk 16). And with that, the world has been forever changed. Jesus is alive today in both body and soul. He lives to reign as Lord over sin, death and the devil – this year and next year and every year until he returns. So 2018 truly is the Year of Jesus!
Through Jesus, God has swallowed up death forever and given the whole world cause for celebration and feasting (Is 25). When we are baptized into Christ, the apostle Paul says we become active participants in Christ’s death and resurrection. God has broken sin’s power to control us. We’ve been spiritually reborn (Rom 6)!
Let’s take the opportunity in these coming days to share the truth about what happened to Jesus and why this continues to be such good news for all people. Our Savior has conquered our death and pardoned our sins. Alleluia! Christ IS risen! And that truth is as consequential today as it was 1,985 years ago. A blessed Holy Week and Easter to all!