THE TRUE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST: AN EASTER REFLECTION Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

ressurection of onyenweanyi

Rising from death to life is not a very common phenomenon. However apart from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we have instances of people coming back to life after death:

  • In 1 Kings (17:17-24) Elijah the prophet prayed and the only son of the widow of Zarephat rose from the dead.
  • In 2nd Kings (4:20-37) Elisha raised the son of the Shunamite woman to life after his very brief illness and death.
  • In 2nd Kings (13:21) A man was raised to life by God’s Spirit. People were about to bury the man in question, but when they saw a band of raiders coming, they simply threw the dead man’s body into Elisha’s tomb and ran away. However, when the corpse touched Elisha’s bones the man came back to life.
  • In Luke (7:11-16), our Lord Jesus Christ raised the only son of the widow of Nain to life while they were on their way to bury him.
  • In Mark (5:35-43), our Lord Jesus Christ raised Jairus’ daughter to life after she was confirmed dead.
  • In John (11:1-44) Jesus Christ our Lord raised Lazarus to life after being in the tomb for four days.
  • In Matthew (27:51-53) God made people who were dead to come back to life as Jesus Christ rose and there was an earthquake.
  • In Acts (9:36-41) Peter raised to life a seamstress and charitable woman known as Dorcas.
  • In Acts (20:7-12) Paul raised to life a young boy called
  • Eutychus to life after falling from the window and found dead.

There are specific differences between these people and our Lord Jesus Christ. These people were brought back to life by the power of God coming from outside them. In the case of our Lord Jesus Christ he rose by his own power. Furthermore all these people mentioned died again after being raised to life but in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ He rose and never to die again.

At the instance of the demise of the individuals mentioned above, their family and friends cried and mourned and when suddenly they came back to life, those who were crying and mourning began immediately to rejoice and celebrate. Hence the rising from dead to life turns sorrow into joy, sadness into jubilation.

This could be linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Friday we were thrown into so much sorrow. Our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to die. He was bruised, flogged, insulted, abandoned, mutilated, and finally killed. It was all gloomy and confusion was rife. The apostles were devastated. The best among them goofed. Peter who was given an enviable position as the key bearer denied the Lord even before a little maid who could qualify as his daughter. Judas who was overlooking the treasure of the community sold the master for thirty pieces of silver (about $155). And of course the others took to their heels when the situation became unbearable.

All these and more became past tales with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on this day. Indeed we have reason to rejoice because as St. Paul would say death is destroyed and victory is complete (1 Cor. 15:54). The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ also marks victory over the plans of the devil.

From the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ the devil had been looking for ways of stopping the salvific work of the redeemer through different persons and situations, though without success until the appointed time when our Lord willing took up the passion and death on the cross. So when we hear about Herod plotting to kill the infant, the machinations of the Scribes, Sadducees, Pilate, the Chief Priests, Pharisees, the towns people of Nazareth and their like we should actually see these as orchestrations of the devil to frustrate the work of our redemption.

At the appointed time; the divinely instituted moment the soldiers strategized to beat Jesus back into the grave should he attempt to rise. However there was an earthquake (Matt.28:1) and an angel came and rolled away the stone that was covering the tomb. The soldiers were so terrified that they became like dead men and at that instant our Lord rose majestically and triumphantly. The soldier woke up only when it was too late and they could only go to report themselves as sleeping when the disciples took the body of the Lord away; an incredible tale that is unbecoming of Roman Soldiers.

The testimony of the women who went to the tomb early and met an empty tomb was ascertained by Peter and John who went to confirm the empty tomb. It is also our faith that our Lord has risen and that also marks our own resurrection. We are a resurrection people! There is no way our Lord could rise and we remain unaffected and unchanged by the power of his resurrection. To this end St. Paul would admonished us that if we believe that we have been raised with Christ, we should seek for things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father (Col.3:1f).

The resurrection of Jesus is productive of a lasting identity for us. There is need for every aspect of our lives to be marked with the character of the resurrection. The Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in his book “Jesus of Nazareth” (part two) indicated that the Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead.

If we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, then our lives should productively reflect the resurrection. There is need for us to rise from disobedience to obedience, from sin to righteous living, from darkness to light from enmity to friendship. After the resurrection to life there will be no need of going back to the grave of sin and death!

We are now a resurrection people, we have risen above matter and misery. The tomb is empty and this directly means that our lives should also be emptied of all those things that create a barrier between us and God. As the angel of God was seen by the tomb reflecting the presence of God we should also allow the resurrection of our Lord to bring about God’s presence in our lives. And we now that if God is with us nobody can be against us. (Romans 8:31).

Happy Easter.

Fr. Bonnie

One Comment on “THE TRUE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST: AN EASTER REFLECTION Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

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