“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 Christmas. “And as they were frightened and they bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.’” Luke 24:5&6 Easter. That time period is covered over 44 pages of my Bible. The calendar shows 68 days between those two events. For those who have studied and ‘searched’ the Scriptures (“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me.” John 5:39), we know that there were 33 years between the birth in Bethlehem, and His death outside the wall of Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon.
His name is Jesus, and we celebrate His birth on an arbitrarily chosen date in December. We celebrate His resurrection on the Sunday after the Jewish feast of the Passover, and on every Sunday of the year.
For those of us who follow a liturgical church year calendar, each Sunday has specific readings and themes. We are now in the season of Lent. Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, is a season of serious reflection on our relationship with God and with people. How have we broken or damaged those relationships? It’s called sin. We admit that we have done that, trust in the forgiveness won for us by the shed blood of Jesus, and search for scripture fed, Holy Spirit guided strength of faith to live a better, more Christ-like life.
We sang in the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal (#348) “Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus can my heartfelt longing still.” Jesus, born in a stable, escaped to Egypt, bar mitzvah at age 12, entered a peripatetic ministry at age 30, healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine (instantly), and died for you and for me on the cross outside the wall of Jerusalem on what we now call ‘Good Friday.’ It is called ‘Good’ because when Jesus shed His holy, innocent blood, that blood was for the cleansing of all sins of all mankind ever. So now we can read, repeat, and believe that, “..it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” Acts 2:21, see also 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
We celebrate the events of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday with the institution of Holy Communion and the Garden of Gethsemene, His arrest and overnight trial, Good Friday with the scourging, crucifixion, and death. Then the vigil of quietude on Saturday. Then joy bursts forth with shouts and songs of Halleluiahs on Easter Sunday Morning. HE’S RISEN! HE’S RISEN INDEED!! AND SO SHALL WE RISE TO NEWNESS OF LIFE!! From beginning to end, it’s all about Jesus, faith in Him, which gives eternal life.