Easter day: Jesus is alive — forever
To appreciate the victory that Easter brings, we must understand the battles that brought the victory.
When we sing, “Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; endless is the victory, Thou o’er death hast won,” we are proclaiming the central truth of Easter—Jesus has won the victory over mankind’s most dreaded foe- death. This is why the songs of Easter feature in Christian funerals. We can sing because Jesus has destroyed death by His resurrection.
The life and ministry of Jesus have a common mission—the redemption of humankind from the power of sin and Satan. From infancy, death hounded Him at every turn—the Bethlehem massacre of the holy innocents (Matt. 2:16-18); the satanic attacks through the demon-possessed and furious storms on the Sea of Galilee and the constant hostility of the religious authorities of His day till His hour of death.
His concluding week brought betrayal, denial, and desertion from His disciples, with the crowd crying, “Crucify Him” and drowning the previous hosannas to a faint echo. As He went to the cross, with soldiers and mockers around Him, He faced the full justice of God against human sin, and He faced the rage of Satan against Him who dared to rescue the man. The cross was where the great transaction was done with the blood of the Lamb of God shed for the redemption of mankind so that the sentence of the fall could be permanently reversed.
Good Friday ended with the apparent impression that all was over, and this nuisance to the establishment was finally out of the way. Jesus was confirmed dead, laid in the tomb, and a huge stone rolled over it. The physical and spiritual darkness seemed impenetrable. The finality of death was deafening.
Then came Easter Sunday. Hardcore Roman soldiers were on guard. Why was this necessary? The Jewish religious leaders still nursed the suspicion of a damaging rumour making the rounds, which could overturn their sense of triumph. So, they went to Pilate with a clearly absurd request. “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So, we request that you seal the tomb until the third day… So, they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Matt. 27:63–66). Now all the forces of hell and earth had spoken. The disciples were in hiding.
The stage was set for heaven to engage. The biblical account says it best. “And behold, there was a great earthquake, an Angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men,” Matt. 28:2-4. The angels then announced the resurrection to the women who had come to the tomb. “But the angel said: to the women, “do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come; see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead,” Matt. 28:5–7. This fact has become the foundation and unchanging message of Christianity from that moment on. Jesus is alive forever. Apostle Paul puts it beautifully: “Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philip 2:9–11).
Easter proclaims victory over sin, death, Satan, and hostile human authorities. Jesus is alive as the Lord of all. Forever!
• The Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu is the Bishop of the Diocese of Lokoja