Alleluia, Christ is risen!
We offer plenty of cheerful statements at various times and for multiple reasons. “Happy birthday” is one. We say that year after year as we recognize the passage of another twelve months in a person’s life. “Congratulations” is another. We’ll use that word for many reasons, never just one thing. We’ll offer it if a person lands a new job, gets engaged, wins at bingo, or any other significant or insignificant occasion.
But then there’s, “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” No other declarative assertion in history compares, and only one event can claim it.
Jesus of Nazareth, the One mocked and physically abused into gross malfiguration, and then spiked to a cross until His body could take no more, He met with the last enemy, Death (1 Corinthians 15:26). And yet, He is beautifully, brilliantly, wonderfully alive! “He has risen,” the angel told the women visiting His tomb, “he is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6).
It’s likely they looked. But they didn’t need to. They already knew the scene well—the terribly dreary place palled by Death’s sights, sounds, and smells. They were sitting across from the tomb’s entrance watching Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea take the Lord’s limp body—battered, hemorrhaging, and likely beginning to stiffen—and wrap it in a linen shroud and place it inside (Luke 23:55). The women saw the Lord’s end—His brutally gruesome end. How could anyone survive such a thing?
They don’t survive it. No one does. Even in Jesus’ case, Death came, bit down hard, and then carried Him away.
At least, Death thought it had a hold on Him.
To call out, “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” is to know that at one particular moment on the timeline, somewhere out of sight, and sometime between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, a cosmic encounter ensued. Death’s trophy opened His eyes and took back His own life (John 10:18). Having never lost His divine authority over all things but only hidden it, He enacted His ambush. He pushed apart Death’s jaws, and in between its now fully realized predicament noted by terrified whimpers, took to His feet. And in the next few moments, as His body was restored, keeping only the scars from the nails and spear (for our sake), He leaned into Death and made it His trophy.
Jesus accomplished and forever sealed the death of eternal Death.
Calling out “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” is so much more than “Happy birthday” or “Congratulations” ever will be. It’s a phrase that genuinely meets with every single moment of life—from one’s birth to one’s final breath. Easter, a singular event, celebrates the defanging and ridding of humanity’s last enemy, the one residing at the center of all human fear: Death. Death has forever lost its power. There is no longer any reason for hopeless concern in this life, no matter how challenging life may be or what the devil or the world might bring our way. Jesus defeated such concern’s master. All who believe this—those who cling by faith to Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross—receive the merits of the same conquering Christ.
And what are these merits?
The forgiveness of sins. And, of course, where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life—eternal life—and salvation (John 3:16-17 and 6:40, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 26:28, 1 John 1:7, and so many others).
Indeed, alleluia, Christ is risen! May God continue to bless you by the power of the Holy Spirit for faith in Jesus. May He keep you enveloped by Easter Day throughout every moment of every day.