Christ Is Risen! You Are Risen!
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
You are risen! You are risen, in a way!
Before you accuse me of blasphemy or impiety for saying "You are risen" after "Christ is risen," please hear me out. I don't in any way intend to demean the unique, universe-transforming resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian life is centered in the extraordinary good news of Easter: Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! The resurrection changes everything.
But, if we take seriously the impact and implications of the resurrection, then we can and should affirm something beyond "Christ is risen." This additional affirmation depends for its validity on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. Moreover, it stands on the bedrock of biblical revelation, especially as found in Ephesians 2:1-7. This passage reveals that we were once "dead in [our] transgressions and sins" (2:1). But God, because of his great love, mercy, and grace, "made us alive with Christ" (2:5). Moreover, God also "raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (2:6). Did you catch that? God raised you up with Christ. Therefore, in a sense, you are risen.
In several reflections a couple of months ago, I talked about what it means for us to already have been raised with Christ. (See the reflections for Feb. 1, Feb. 4, Feb. 5, Feb. 6, Feb. 7, and Feb. 8.) As you may recall, our resurrection today is part of the "already and not yet" experience of God's future kingdom that is coming and yet also here with us now. Though we have not been fully and finally raised from the dead, through Christ and in his Spirit we begin to experience the reality of the resurrection now.
Thus, in the season of Easter, we do not simply look back to the resurrection of Jesus and marvel, though awestruck worship is certainly merited. Rather, we also look toward the future, yearning for the day when we will be completely raised into the peace of God's kingdom. And, during Eastertide, we also look at our own lives to see if we are living each day as people who have begun to experience resurrection. Are we people of strong faith? Do we see in our lives the very power that raised Christ from the dead? Are we full of hope, even in the midst of struggles and sufferings? Is there evidence of the new creation in our daily lives, our work, our dreams, our relationships, our citizenship?
If Christ is truly risen, and if you have put your trust in him, then you also have been raised with him. So, Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! You are risen! You are risen, indeed and in part!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you experience life as if you have been raised from the dead? If so, when or how? If not, why not? What might it mean for you to live in the reality of the resurrection today in your classroom or workplace, in your family or among your friends, in your church or community?
PRAYER: Thank you, gracious God, for delivering me from death to life. Thank you for allowing me to begin, even now, to taste some of the life that is to come. Thank you for raising Jesus from the dead. Thank you for raising me along with Jesus and for the invitation to begin to experience the life of the future today.
Help me, Lord, to live in the reality of Easter today. Even as I celebrate the fact that Christ is risen, may I live a resurrection life. Amen.
P.S. from Mark: If you are looking for more information about the season of Easter, let me encourage you to check out what I have written on my blog: Introduction to Eastertide, the Season of Easter.