XI: The Resurrection

The doctrine of a risen Savior is exceedingly precious, for the resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity.” Charles Spurgeon

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Morning Coffee with Barry Stebbing

XI:  The Resurrection

The Entombment by Peter Paul Rubens

Early Sunday morn.  A special time to go outside and listen to the songbirds, silently watching the sunrise.  It is the most significant day in the history of mankind, the beginning of a faith that has weathered many storms over the past two centuries and changed the world.  It is the day that proclaims the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead, something so profound that it goes beyond the comprehension of our finite minds.  Above is the somber painting, The Entombment, by the great Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, showing the bereaved followers of Christ as they prepare Him for burial.                                       

The Resurrection by Matthias Grunewald

And it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that is the essential key to our faith.  As Paul stated in I Corinthians 15:14, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is empty… If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the more pitiable.”  In other words, if Jesus did not rise from the dead our faith is as worthless as a plug nickel.  However, Paul follows this statement with the powerful conjunction, But, and then emphatically continues to tell us the rest of the story.  It is at this point where we find our resounding hope as he states that Christ has risen from the grave, something to which over 500 eyewitnesses had attested to.  Matthias Grunewald, the German artist of the early 1500s, gives us an inspiring depiction of the risen Christ in his painting, The Resurrection (above).     

And so, within these two masterpieces, we have the beginning and the end or, within the spiritual aspect of our lives, the end and the beginning.  Romans 6:4 clarifies this, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism of death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  

We also have a simple depiction of the born again transformation which every Christ-bearing soul shares in.  It is our very own, very personal Easter morn.        

We can only imagine Mary and the other women coming out of the empty tomb with the unbelievable realization that Jesus Christ had risen from the grave and exclaiming to eveyone, He is risen!  As the years passed Christians would continue to greet each other by saying, Christ is risen.  To which the reply would be, He is risen, indeed!  Some churches still practice such a greeting.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, on this Easter morn, we all went out and greeted everyone who crossed our path with, Christ is risen!  After all, what is there to lose?

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to know that He has risen, to have fellowship with Him, to commune with the risen Savior by possessing a risen life, to see Him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves, this is even more precious.       Charles Spurgeon

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Art History Tid-Bit:  Peter Paul Rubens was one of the great masters of the Baroque Period, a period and style of painting that soon followed the Renaissance.  Rubens’ paintings have this great sense of drama with splashed of vivid colors and a light source that only increases the sense of drama.

Carl Bloch was a Danish artist of the 1800s who was commissioned by a wealthy businessman to do an extensive series of paintings on the life of Christ.  The entire series is now displayed in the chapel of the Fredericksburg Castle in Copenhagen. 

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Coffee Memo:  In the spring of 1988 I had recommitted my life to Christ.  Fasting for three days before Easter Sunday I went to church feeling like the empty tomb.  After the service I enjoyed an excellent cup of coffee and continued to sing Hallelujah!

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