For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Monday, Second Week of Easter
All-powerful Father in heaven, help us to proclaim the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ, the first fruits from the grave, has risen, so also in Him may we come alive and conquer the grave forever. Amen
The gospels do not record the actual resurrection of our Lord; they only tell of the discovery of the empty tomb and His later appearances to the women and to his disciples. The Orthodox tradition likewise does not depict the moment when Christ emerges from the tomb.
Last Sunday was the Orthodox celebration of Easter. The Eastern Church celebrates Easter on a different date than the West. The Eastern church also portrays their theology in a highly visual way, with icons. The icon above is entitled “the Resurrection” (Anastasis in Greek). It depicts Christ’s descent into the abyss, the underworld where he frees all the righteous men and women who lived before he conquered death on the cross and opened the gate of heaven. As Peter writes, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey…” (1 Peter 3:18)
What I love about this icon is that Christ is depicted in a dazzling white robe with a halo of brilliant blue as he stands over the dark abyss of the dead. Christ stands on the cross, which is the means of his death, but which are also depicted as the shattered gates of the kingdom of death. Death is now shown as captive under his feet because death no longer has dominion over him (Romans 6:9).
Jesus is reaching out to grasp the hands of Adam and Eve drawing them into the life they lost in the Garden of Eden. The resurrection of the first man and woman is a foretaste of the resurrection of all flesh. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). Other saints are gathered around celebrating Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil.
The Resurrection of our Lord is a cosmic event that changes the course of our history. It is so unique and so powerful that every person who hears of Jesus and his resurrection and puts their trust in Him, he or she crosses over from death into life. Today will you share this resurrection story with someone who may not yet believe? The life that Christ won, he won for all. Proclaim it with boldness and with joy!
Celebrating the Resurrection!
Pastor Langdon Reinke
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