Christ’s conquest of death sets us free before God
by Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack, TCW:
The most important words ever spoken are, ‘He is risen. He is risen indeed’. There, in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we encounter the pivotal point of all history.
Jesus, God incarnate, suffered and died on the cross, was buried – and rose again. He was not taken down from the cross still alive as Muslims maintain. A centurion, a man well acquainted with dead bodies, pronounced Him dead. His corpse was taken by friends and entombed. When they returned the tomb was empty; He had risen.
A bodily resurrection. Not a ‘spiritual’ resurrection, or ‘myth’ as theological liberals maintain, but a genuine resurrection of the body. Deny this and our faith is useless (I Corinthians 15:4). Nevertheless it is denied. The Rev Dr Lorraine Cavanagh, acting general secretary of Modern Church, a champion of ‘liberal Christian theology’, said recently: ‘An adult faith requires that it be constantly questioned, constantly reinterpreted. To ask an adult to believe in the Resurrection the way they did at Sunday school simply won’t do and that’s true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith’. And thus Christianity, and all that goes with it dies.
We forget the power of words when they become familiar. We refer to Jesus as ‘Lord’ without thinking of its impact or implications. On the day of Pentecost, Peter went into Jerusalem and, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached the first Christian sermon. He told the crowds the startling news that Jesus, whom they had crucified, had been raised from the dead and is the Lord of all.