An Ode To The Resurrection in Three Thoughts

J.M. Diener

Thought the First — The Account

Welcome, brothers, sisters, friends
To this joyful day
We celebrate the light that’s dawned
To chase death’s darkness away
We sing and shout the name of Christ
Jesus who was dead is now alive
To do this day the honor it deserves
I’ll proclaim in verse
The ancient story of our risen Lord
And its meaning for each of us
We’ll ponder what it means for us
To one day rise again
And then consider what it means
To live in hope of resurrection
And these three thoughts will resound
With the mighty creed
Christ the Lord is risen!
He is risen indeed!

The witness set his reed to page
Recorded for us this inescapable fact
That Jesus was dead,
His heart torn apart
His sacrifice the final act
To clear the way to come to God
Reconciled through His blood
One sacrifice eternally
No other one will needed be!

His followers languish in the dark
Cast all hope aside
They fear the soldiers’ marching step
They hunker and they hide
Did they misunderstand?
Were they fools to trust the One?
Was He not to save Israel?
Was He not God’s own Son?
How could this be?
They could not see
What was yet to come.
They chose not to believe
The prophecy of the One:
Three days shall he pass
As Jonah did in the belly of the whale
Three days shall pass
Then He will rise hearty and hale.
From Matthew the evangelist
These words we do read
The witness of the women
And what they have seen.

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men. But the angel told the women, "Don't be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.' Listen, I have told you." So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news. Just then Jesus met them and said, "Good morning!" They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus told them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there."
Matthew 28:1-10 HCSB

They saw Him, they saw Him
And away fled sorrow
Bright joy mingled
With wonder, fear and awe
Here He was, the Risen One
The Perfect Son of God!
The joy transfused their very souls
Awoke the quenchèd flame
And so they flew to the eleven
Loudly to proclaim
Christ the Lord is risen
He is risen indeed!

The risen body of our Lord is proven
By abundant evidence
The first is the necessity of prophecy
Which the apostle Paul presents

Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you--unless you believed for no purpose. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 HCSB

 

Hundreds of eyewitnesses
Add their voice to Paul’s

and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.
1 Corinthians 15:5-8 HCSB

We read the accounts of the Four
Their proofs that Christ truly rose
And are faced with claims so inescapable
That we must finally choose:
Do we believe Christ is alive
Or are he and his friends all liars?
For if we believe this to be true,
we must celebrate this
the whole year through,
not just today.
Natural man denies the possibility
That one dead can live again
They argue and argue and offend
The core tenant of our creed
Jesus Christ is risen
He is risen indeed!

• • •

Thought the Second — The Meaning

Since Christ the Lord is risen indeed
We have a hope that can’t be quenched
The apostle Paul makes this clear
In his letter to the Corinthians
Our very salvation is predicated
On His being alive today
Unless we accept this to be true
We are to be pitied beyond all
So writes for us the apostle Paul

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, "There is no resurrection of the dead"? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ--whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 HCSB

And yet, the Word is crystal clear
That He is now alive
I wonder that we are so bold
So brazen to deny
A truth that is fundamental
To the very existence
Of our insistence
That there is more to this world than we can see
For Paul once more writes clearly:

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 HCSB

As He was raised so shall we be!
Can you imagine the import of this?
Should this not fill you with bliss?
The evangelist tells us Jesus body was real
It was physical matter made new
He ate and he drank
He was touchable
And what was much more remarkable
Was that he had not changed
Glorified, to be sure,
But their Jesus again
The disciples feared Him,
Not because he was different,
But because he was utterly the same
As is our Lord, so shall we be.
As he is physical,so will we be
As he is glorified, so shall we be
He is the first, we follow Him
As He rose, so we rise again!
This is a glorious hope,
For not only will we rise in perfection
But Jesus our Lord will raise all creation
Heaven and earth shall be unmade
In glory again to be reframed
And that new sphere with a new sun
Will reflect the glory of the Three-in-One
It will be filled with the knowledge
Of the glory of God
It will be filled with creatures great and small
That will live in constant worship
Of the almighty King
It’s not just one eternal church meeting
We’ll have tasks to do,
People to lead
A world to keep
A shepherd to heed
God will make it so we can live
With Him joyful and free
All because Christ is risen
He is risen indeed!

• • •

Thought the Third — The Response

How then shall we live?
What response shall we give
To this amazing fact and its import for us?
In ecstasy as he ponders this truth
Paul cries out thus:

For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:53-57 HCSB

And so I call you all to join with Paul and me
In praising our great God
For the fact that Jesus rose
and one day so will we
But there is more to this than that
An immediate response is meet
How must that look?
What must we do?
If you who have not yet believed
are challenged by this claim
I call you now, accept it, believe it,
And you will live again.
All you must do is believe in your heart
That God raised Jesus from the dead
And then with your lips proclaim
Jesus is my Lord!
And you’ll be saved
His sacrifice was for you
His resurrection, it is true
His very life and death took place
So we can look upon His face
With unveiled eyes
With mighty cries
Of worthy, worthy is the Lamb
Who was and is, the great I am,
Forevermore the only God
The one worthy of our love.
His blood will wash your sins away
His life will rescue you today
If only you believe, saying
Christ the Lord is risen
He is risen indeed!

And for those of us who are His
What does resurrection mean for us?
How should we comport ourselves
What does He want from us?
Let me quote once more from Paul
And briefly elaborate
On what the Holy Spirit says
Should be our acts and our state

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 HCSB

First, do not listen to
And firmly stand against
Any who would deny that
Our Lord lives again
He died, He rose
This truth we profess
Any disagreement
We do not accept

Secondly, cease from sin
Stop doing what is wrong
Stop living, speaking, acting
In ways that don’t belong
In a Christian life
Examine yourself, look deep within
To see if there might be
Anything that is out of line
With what the Scriptures teach
Then bring that to light,
Tell your Lord and tell your brother
Beg His forgiveness, turn from sin
Do not commit another

Third, you’re called to joy
Not just for today
Every day is Resurrection Sunday!
So fill every day with joy
Every moment with praise
Especially when you don’t feel like it
Or when you’re in pain
That is a hallmark of our faith
It makes us different from
The rest of this fallen world
And its fallen sons
We know that our mighty work
Will never be in vain
Because it is not us who works
But our Lord in highest heav’n
We do not labor for this world
We work for one to come
And if we miss out on something here
It won’t matter
We’ll have a million, billion trillion years
In the world that’s yet to come
This will give us rest
This will give us peace
This will cause us to give our best
In even the smallest thing

Live in the knowledge that you’ll rise
Live in that certain hope
That even now there is no thing
With which you cannot cope
Live knowing that Jesus is alive
Live knowing He is here
Live knowing that the Holy Ghost
Is ever always near
And He will never, never, never leave you
Never fear!

So brothers, sisters, friends all
I call you to proclaim
With heart and voice
With loud acclaim
The mighty Christian creed
Jesus Christ is risen
He is risen indeed!

Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.