A celebration of our Lord's resurrection.
Good morning, and happy Easter!
This morning, we’re going to take a break from Matthew and take the opportunity to reflect and rejoice in the resurrection of our savior Jesus.
Although Matthew does cover the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it will be quite some time before we get to that part of the story in Matthew, so we’re skipping ahead in the story today. Maybe by Easter of 2023 we’ll get there.
Of course, we are talking about the resurrection today because today is Easter Sunday!
Do any of you have any particular Easter traditions you look forward to?
Easter comes with a lot of fun traditions, like coloring Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts, and the Easter bunny, and Easter baskets, and Easter candy!
Easter was always one of my favorite holidays growing up. I loved the Easter egg hunts as a little kid, which always culminated in the glorious discovery of an Easter basket filled with all kinds of treasures. And when I got a little older, it turned into elaborate treasure hunts that my mom would craft with a series of dozens of different clues I had to follow and decipher. And often the clues would involve looking up Bible verses, so she managed to make it a spiritual activity besides!
Easter is, of course, an explicitly Christian holiday, though many non-Christians enjoy some of these traditions that are not inherently religious, much like our Christmas traditions.
It’s actually unclear exactly where these traditions, like decorating eggs, and the Easter bunny originated. There’s even some debate as to the origin of the word “Easter” itself to refer to this holiday! It’s possible that some of it predates Christianity and goes back to general pagan customs and ideas about fertility and celebrating the arrival of spring and new life. However, there is some evidence that Easter eggs and even the Easter bunny have implicitly Christian origins. And, because Easter is so close to when the Jews celebrate Passover, there is some influence from Passover traditions as well.
The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though it’s certainly likely that Christians had been commemorating Christ’s resurrection before that as well. There was some significant controversy as to when to celebrate Easter, which was not fully resolved until the 8th century (and has continued to be a discussion into the 20th and 21st centuries).
Importance of the Resurrection
However, regardless of the date it’s celebrated, or the traditions surrounding it, the purpose and the focus of Easter has always been the same: to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Eggs and baskets and candy and big family meals with ham or lamb, those are all great, fun family traditions! But we should also be sure to take time to reflect on “the reason for the season” as we often say about Christmas. To truly celebrate the meaning of Easter.
In fact, there is an Easter tradition that I know some of you are familiar with, and I like this one a lot. It’s just a simple call-and-response phrase. A declaration and affirmation, to say:
He is Risen!
He is Risen indeed.
It just feels good to say, doesn’t it? Those few simple words are so full of hope and joy and declare the reason we can confidently follow Jesus and call him our Lord and Saviour.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is that central moment in human history that serves as the foundational doctrine of Christianity. After having truly assumed human nature and submitted to an agonizing and shameful public death, the eternal Son of God was truly raised from the dead in his glorified physical body, no longer subject to decay and death.
His resurrection validates his identity as the divine Son of God, demonstrates his irrevocable victory over death and the grave, and secures both the present salvation and future physical resurrection of believers.
In other words, The resurrection of Jesus Christ is important! We’re going to explore some of the reasons why a little further in a bit, but first I’d like us to read the “Easter story” together.
I’m going to read from Luke today; we can find the story in all the gospel accounts, but I wanted to choose one other than Matthew, and Luke is pretty thorough and detailed.
And I’m going to start in Luke chapter 23, backing up to the moment when Jesus died. Because his resurrection is only significant if he truly died. The death, burial, and resurrection are kind of a package deal. The resurrection is the really fun and happy part, but I don’t want to skip over those first two, so we’re going to read through the whole story together.
In Luke 23:44, Jesus is still hanging on the cross, and he just had his conversation with the two other guys being executed on either side of him. It’s Friday, the day Sabbath will begin at sundown.
Luke 23:44–24:53 CSB
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, 45 because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. 46 And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying, “This man really was righteous!” 48 All the crowds that had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, went home, striking their chests. 49 But all who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. 50 There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, 51 who had not agreed with their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. 52 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. 53 Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed. 54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed along and observed the tomb and how his body was placed. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. 5 So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. 6 “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’8 And they remembered his words. 9 Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. 10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. 11 But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened. 13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing him. 17 Then he asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. 18 The one named Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked them. So they said to him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that he was the one who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find his body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. 28 They came near the village where they were going, and he gave the impression that he was going farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40 Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence. 44 He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” 50 Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven. 52 After worshiping him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they were continually in the temple praising God.
Whew! That’s the whole story! And I could really almost just leave it at that, scripture really speaks for itself I think here. At the same time, we could spend hours exploring the various different aspects of this story: the characters, the timeline, the theological implications, the cultural nuances, etc, etc...
For today, I’ve narrowed it down to two main points of interest:
- The precedent for the resurrection.
- The implications of the resurrection.
These two points will let us cover quite a bit of ground while still remaining relatively focused, and I’m going to be exploring these mostly by referencing other scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Precedent for Resurrection
So first of all, what was the precedent for his resurrection? Jesus obviously knew ahead of time what was going to happen, but everybody else seemed totally shocked!
Should they have been shocked, though? Or if they were paying attention to scripture and the life of Christ, should they have been expecting this?
Well, it’s easy for us to criticize his disciples in hindsight for being surprised, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have been any different in their shoes.
However, in hindsight, we can certainly see the precedent and foreshadowing, and even outright prophesy that not only foreshadowed but foretold the resurrection of the Messiah.
And we do know that the concept of dead people coming back to life was a very familiar concept to the Jewish people. They did anticipate that a resurrection would take place at the end of all things. The concept of resurrection was fundamental to Jewish theology, except, of course for the Sadducees, who denied that there would ever be a resurrection, and even denied the existence of spirits altogether. But because of them, the idea of resurrection was an existing controversy that was very frequently discussed among the Jews! It was not a new concept.
Any scholar of Hebrew scripture would have had categories in their mind for the mass resurrection of many people at the end of days, as well as for Yahweh intervening to bring a single individual back to life.
The Resurrection of Many
A couple weeks ago, we looked at Daniel chapter 7, which is a crucial passage in understanding Jesus as the “Son of Man,” a human exalted to the throne of Yahweh. A few chapters later, in Daniel chapter 12, we get a glimpse at what the culmination of God’s kingdom will look like at the end of days:
Daniel 12:2–3 CSB
2 Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace and eternal contempt. 3 Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
This is describing a resurrection and glorification, not just of one human, but of “many,” and some resurrect to eternal life, others to disgrace. The former are described as shining like the stars, forever and ever! It’s an image of thousands and millions of saints, of God’s children, his family, sharing in his kingdom and finally fulfilling their purpose in creation, ruling on Yahweh’s behalf.
The Resurrection of One
Not only does the Old Testament point to future resurrection, it also tells of resurrections that happened in the past.
Last year, we went through the lives of Elijah and Elisha. As it happens, there are only three explicit examples of people being resurrected from the dead in the Old Testament, and all three are in Elijah and Elisha’s stories.
I won’t read through each one, I’ll just list them here:
- Elijah prays and God raises a young boy from death (1 Kings 17:17-24)
- Elisha raises the son of the Woman of Shunem (2 Kings 4:32-37) whose birth he previously foretold (2 Kings 4:8-16)
- A dead man's body that was thrown into the dead Elisha's tomb is resurrected when the body touches Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:21)
If you were here for our studies of Elijah and Elisha you may recall that we brought up the significance of these resurrections as demonstrating Yahweh’s power over death, and pointing to the Messiah, who would one day defeat death and the grave once and for all.
Jesus Raising the Dead
And sure enough, we’ve already seen in Matthew that Jesus has the power to heal people physically and spiritually. And very soon, in chapter 9 we’ll see Jesus actually bring back a leader’s daughter from recent death!
Boy During Funeral
Luke also tells of a time Jesus brought a boy back to life in the middle of his funeral procession! He sits up right out of his coffin!
Luke 7:11–17 CSB
11 Afterward he was on his way to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd were traveling with him. 12 Just as he neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the town was also with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Don’t weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And he said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Then fear came over everyone, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people.” 17 This report about him went throughout Judea and all the vicinity.
The third example of Jesus demonstrating power over death is probably the most famous one. And I think it’s the most poignant one, because the man Jesus resurrects had not just recently died. He had been dead, funeral was over, and he was buried in a tomb for four days!
John 11:1–44 NLT
1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” 8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” 9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” 16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” 17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” 40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
I think one of the coolest parts of this story, other than the resurrection itself, is Jesus’s conversation with Martha.
He tells her “Your brother will rise again.”
And at first, it seems Martha thinks that Jesus is referring to the resurrection we read about in Daniel, in the end of days, when he explains that her brother Lazarus “will rise again.” Martha replies that she knows “he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
But then Jesus’s response, that he is the resurrection and the life is such a bold, powerful claim! And Martha actually seems to get it at that point! She believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that he has authority even over death.
How much more would her faith have then increased once Martha saw her brother, dead by then four days, walk out of his tomb, fully alive?!?
So, all of this goes to show that at the time of Jesus’s death, the Jews would have had the opportunity to think about the Old Testament’s prediction of resurrections in the future, as well as three specific examples of Yahweh bringing people back to life through Elijah and Elisha, AND three specific examples of Jesus bringing people back to life!
Again, hindsight is 20-20, but I can’t help but be a little amazed at how nobody expected Jesus to come back to life, when clearly there was so much precedent for it!
They certainly clued into it afterwards though, once they saw the risen king, and received the Holy Spirit, we can see how everything clicked with the disciples, from Peter to John to Paul, they all make very clear, very strong statements as to the significance of the resurrection.
Implications of Resurrection
Which brings us to the second area of focus for this morning, the implications of the Christ’s resurrection.
The New Testament writers insist that Christ’s resurrection bears strong and everlasting consequences.
It validates Christ’s claim to the be the Son of God, proves his victory over sin and death, secures our eternal salvation, demonstrates our future, and elevates Jesus to the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh, having been given authority over all creation, in heaven and earth.
Let’s look a few passages which bring out each of these points:
Jesus is the Son of God.
The first is that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God, the Messiah. If all the other miracles weren’t enough to prove it, surely resurrection from the dead would be.
This was one of the main thrusts of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:
Acts 2:22–36 CSB
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. 24 God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death. 25 For David says of him: I saw the Lord ever before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me in Hades or allow your holy one to see decay. 28 You have revealed the paths of life to me; you will fill me with gladness in your presence. 29 “Brothers and sisters, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay. 32 “God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says: The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
By extension, by validating he is who he says he is, it also validates his teaching as being from God. Jesus actually predicts this in Matthew 12:
Matthew 12:38–40 CSB
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
For the people wanting a sign, wanting Jesus to prove himself, he said they would be given the sign of Jonah, which was an insinuation of his eventual death and burial and resurrection on the third day.
Jesus Claims Victory Over Death
The resurrection event also stands as evidence of Christ’s victory over death and the grave.
Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians, where he quotes the prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea, attributing them to Christ:
1 Corinthians 15:54–55 CSB
54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?
And in Revelation, John witnesses Jesus make this claim outright:
Revelation 1:17–18 CSB
7 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.
How epic is that!?!?
Jesus Secures Our Eternal Salvation
And it sort of extends into the next point. Jesus not only holds the keys of death and Hades just for his own benefit, he extends the offer of salvation for all, and HIS resurrection secures OUR salvation!
Romans 4:25 CSB
25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 10:9–10 CSB
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
1 Peter 1:3 CSB
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
This is possible because he is our eternal, undying high priest, interceding on our behalf before the Father:
Hebrews 7:23–25 CSB
23 Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. 24 But because he remains forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.
Jesus Demonstrates Our Future
Such is our eternal hope that the resurrection of Jesus serves as the precursor for the resurrection of believers, who have been “buried with him in baptism,” will be raised with him, and “will appear with him in glory,” having been made “like him.”
1 Corinthians 15:20 CSB
20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Colossians 2:12 CSB
12 when you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
2 Corinthians 4:14 CSB
14 For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.
Colossians 3:1–4 CSB
1 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
1 John 3:2 CSB
2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is.
Jesus Takes the Throne
Finally, we see that the resurrected Christ also became the ascended Christ, who took his place at the right hand of God.
Stephen describes seeing this moments before he was stoned to death for believing in Jesus:
Acts 7:55–56 CSB
55 Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 He said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
And in Revelation, we get this beautiful depiction of God’s kingdom, with the “lamb,” referring to Jesus, sharing equally in all the glory and honor and worship attributed to Yahweh. The lamb is depicted here as the king of the kingdom:
Revelation 7:9–12 CSB
9 After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! 11 All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.
As we continue to celebrate Easter today, let us enjoy time spent with family, and whatever traditions and festivities we choose to partake in, but most of all let us rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, and give thanks to him for the hope we have in him of eternal life, and salvation from sin and death forever.