Christ has Risen, Truly he has Risen.
This is the greeting of the resurrection. Together we will consider the power of the resurrection and its effect.
To rouse our spiritual awakening, the first question we ask is: What is the essence of the power of the resurrection?
Rather, what is the essence of the power of Christ’s death on the cross? Without hesitation, we answer according to the verse at the beginning of St John’s Gospel that it is God’s love to the world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). God’s love to the world is what made Him give His only Son to the cross.
Consequently and inevitably faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, the essence of the creed of faith and redemption, is faith in God’s love for the world.
This results in a pragmatic simplification. God’s love is equal to the power of the sacrifice of death together with the power of the action of the resurrection.
Now I am addressing those who have knowledge of the principles of theology. The power of the act of death on the cross is the forgiveness of sins, and the power of the action of the resurrection from death is reconciliation with the Father and the gaining of righteousness with eternal life. The immediate result of God’s love for us is the mystery of the forgiveness of our sins, the offer of righteousness and eternal life. This is the essential truth on which we put all our focus today to declare that it is impossible for our sins to be forgiven without our realizing, evaluating and accepting God’s love for us and reciprocating this love with love! It is also impossible to make peace with God the Father and gain His righteousness and eternal life without growing into, coming to know and acquiring God’s love for us. Because, as we know, it is in God’s love that is manifest the mystery of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life!
How can we realize, evaluate, and accept God’s love for us? Christ revealed the means clearly in the Gospel. It is the primary relationship God required from man in order to bind together God and man. “And he (Jesus) said to him: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mt 22:37-39).
In his First Epistle St John explains the basic relationship between God’s love for us and our love for God as follows: “We love Him, because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19 NKJV). St John also presented the negative: “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). St John then proves all that has been previously said: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him (herein lies a hint of the resurrection). In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins (herein lies a hint to the death of the cross)” (1 Jn 4:9, 10).
St John thus proved what we said about the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that exist and act in us through God’s love for us. For that reason Christ placed God’s command of love in the first and greatest place and that it must be with all the heart, soul and mind. Christ gives the reason with this equation: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him” (Jn 14:21). The only way to gain the power of God’s love is to love God in which the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of our eternal life exist!
Now, dear friend don’t you find that it is impossible for us to claim we have faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, the core of Christian faith, unless our love for Christ is a true, sincere and effective love?
It is therefore the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that is today manifest and effectual in those who truly love Jesus Christ with all their hearts, souls and minds! These are the hearts, souls and minds that are considered to have actually risen with Christ and live with eyes looking upwards. How? Is there an explanation?
[Fr Matta El-Meskeen, Christ is Risen Truly He has Risen]
To be continued tomorrow!