After six grueling hours of vicious taunts, mental torture and physical torment, Jesus cried with a loud voice, breathed his last breath and “yielded His Spirit.” The centurion guards standing by saw he was dead.
Later solders came to break the legs of Jesus and the two criminals, but they said “He is dead.”
The women standing at the foot of the cross, including Mary and Mary Magdalene, said, “He is dead.’
By now the crowd had dispersed. No doubt, wagging their heads, saying, “He’s dead.”
Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy and prominent council member said, “He is dead.” So he came to claim the body for burial.
Pilate’s surprised reaction was, “Is He already dead?”
By now the report must have arrived to the Pharisees who had schemed to have Jesus executed. I can imagine a Messenger saying, “He’s dead.” And a smug smile creasing the lips of the leaders as they look at each other saying, “Now He’s dead.”
As preparations were being made for the Passover, from Jerusalem residents to out-of-town visitors, the word must have spread, “He’s dead.”
The Teacher? “He’s dead.” The miracle worker? “He’s dead.” The man who went about doing good? “He’s dead.”
And the apostles. Now scattered. Dispirited. Saddened. Must have been thinking, “It’s all over. He’s dead.”
That was Friday.
But then something happened Sunday. Something incredible. Something mind-boggling. Something miraculous!
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found it empty. She’s exclaimed, “He’s alive!”
And so said, Mary. And Salome. And the other women. “He’s alive!”
The apostles John and Peter came running to the grave, and went away rejoicing. “He’s alive!”
The other disciples heard the news and no doubt their sad faces turned into joyous smiles as they kept saying, “He’s alive! He’s alive!” Now they understood the scripture about his resurrection.
By now the word is spreading like a virus throughout Jerusalem. The people. The Priests. The Pharisees. That’s all they’re hearing, “He’s alive! He’s alive!”
The two men on the road to Emmaus began their journey saying, “He’s dead.” Then after their walk with “a Stranger” their hearts burned with passion and they were exclaiming, “He’s alive!”
Over and over again for 40 days, the refrain was the same jubilant exclamation, “He’s alive!”
We meet today because “He’s alive.” Not just annually. Or semi-annually. But weekly. Every Sunday we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Just like the first century Christians.
Because He’s alive there’s deep significance in weekly worship. In communion. In singing praises. In prayer. And in baptism.
And the gospel? It’s not just another message. Another lecture. Or speech. It is the proclamation of a grand promise. The promise of a living hope beyond the grave. The promise of my resurrection from the dead. The promise of living and never-dying. The promise of living eternally with the Father.
And so we celebrate the risen Savior. This Sunday. And every Sunday. Because “He’s alive.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman