REMEMBER WHAT HE SAID
Once again the universal church meets together to celebrate the greatest demonstration of God’s power – the resurrection of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead. Somehow it rings with renewed meaning for us, especially in the midst of this dreadful pandemic, when so many have been ushered into eternity in these last few months alone. On account of Jesus’ triumph over death on that first Easter Sunday we now celebrate in the most enthusiastic way, the triumph of life over death and the victory of light over darkness. In fact, as a result of the first Easter, it can truly be said that every Sunday since reminds us that the tomb is empty. Jesus is risen - and the church no longer lives in despair but looks “For that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Our simple, but most powerful message is – “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said . . .” (Matthew 28:6). Matthew affirmed it. Mark verified it (Mark 16:6). Luke corroborated it (Luke 24: 6) and John also unequivocally declared it (John 20:13,14). It was the most central, revolutionizing message of this early New Testament church and remains the central most preeminent doctrine of the twenty-first church – the resurrection of our Lord and Savior from the dead. For us it is a reality, because He lives, we too shall live and can face every day now with courage and hope.
It seemed quite incomprehensible to his disciples that He had raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:41;42); He had raised he widow’s son from death (Luke 6:11-17); He had raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:32-44); but now He laid lifeless among the dead. They had somehow forgotten that He had said to them “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” John 2:19. They had forgotten how He had said that He “. . . must go to Jerusalem and suffer . . . and be killed and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21). They had forgotten and as a result it caused them the greatest grief and pain.
They could not reconcile in their minds the idea of a crucified messiah. His death therefore, only represented for them broken dreams, dashed hopes and unfulfilled promises. They had forgotten indeed that the Scriptures did tell of a crucified messiah before it spoke of a resurrected, glorified Lord. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Jesus asked the two disciples on their way to Emmaus as He endeavored to help them come to terms with the gruesome reality and necessity of the crucifixion.
Change comes however, when the Bible says, “And they remembered His words” (Luke 24:8). Failure to remember His words, always results in tragic, very painful circumstances. Notice how forlorn and utterly depressed and disillusioned, the disciples became as the transactions of Good Friday transpired. They all forsook Him and fled, shut down their operations and went into hiding – (Mark 14:50). They saw only a crucified messiah, shamefully dying on a Roman cross. It seemed all over!
However, thank God it did not end there! Crucifixion is gloriously followed by the resurrection! Good Friday inevitably leads to Easter Sunday. Death is swallowed up in victory! In our Christian faith, the cross leads to the crown. Suffering does not have the final say! The gory gives way to the glory of new life and resurrected power. Weeping gives way to joy! New life springs forth! Death could not hold Him in the ground! “He is not here,” the angels said “for He is risen! . . ." (Matthew 28:6). From the tomb of Jesus we still preach life and more life! In spite of this pandemic we remain resurrection preachers of renewed life and power! We not only remember what He said, but what He did – He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
April 3, 2021
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region