Tag Archives: The Resurrection

“Christ won the victory” by Martin Luther

“By His resurrection Christ won the victory over law, sin, flesh, world, devil, death, hell, and every evil. And this His victory He donated unto us. These many tyrants and enemies of ours may accuse and frighten us, but they dare not condemn us, for Christ, whom God the Father has raised from the dead is our righteousness and our victory.”

–Martin Luther, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, trans. Theodore Conrad Graebner (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1939), 11-12.

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“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike

“Seven Stanzas at Easter”
By John Updike, (1932-2009)

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

–John Updike, “Seven Stanzas at Easter” in Telephone Poles and Other Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), 72-3.

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“He is not here” by Horatius Bonar

“So does the angel soothe the fear of the trembling women: ‘Fear not ye; He is not here; He is risen: come, see the place where the Lord lay.’ Let us mark, then, the glad tidings which the angel brings us regarding Him who died and was buried.

He is not here. This is the only place regarding which it could be accounted good news to say, Christ is not here. Christ is here, was good news at Bethany, at Jericho, at Nain, at Capernaum, or on the sea of Galilee; but Christ is not here, is the good news from Joseph’s tomb.

A present Christ would be accounted the joy and security of other places; it is an absent Christ that is announced as the blessing, the consolation here. He is not here, is one of the gladdest sounds that ever fell on human ears. Were He still here, what and where should we have been?

And who is it that you are seeking here? The mortal or the immortal? And what place is this in which you expect to find the Son of God? In a grave? Is this the place for immortality? Is it likely that there should be life in the dwellings of death? Why seek ye the living among the dead? No; not here,—not here; not in this place of death can the Prince of life be found. He was here, indeed; but He is not.

These rock walls and this rock gate cannot hold Him. He was in Gethsemane, in Pilate’s palace, on the cross; but not now. These He has visited, but in none of them has He remained. He has left them all behind. With Him it is all life, and incorruption, and glory now. He is not here!

If not here, where? That we soon discover when we follow Him to Emmaus and to Galilee. But even though we knew not, does it matter, save for this, that we may learn that His disappearance has not been a forsaking of earth, nor a turning His back upon the children of men? His disappearance from the tomb is only the carrying out of His love.

He is risen. He was laid down upon that rocky floor; but only to rest there for a day. For that tomb was His first earthly resting-place; all before that was weariness. Having rested there for a short season, He rises; and with renewed strength, into which hereafter no element of weariness can enter, He resumes His work He has not been carried off, either by friend or enemy; He has been raised by the Father, as the righteous One; the fulfiller of His purpose; the finisher of His work; the destroyer of death; the conqueror of him who has the power of death; the Father’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.

This true temple has been destroyed, only to be rebuilt in greater and more undecaying magnificence. This true Siloam has only for three days intermitted the flow of its missioned waters, that it might gush forth in larger fulness. This true Sun has only for three days been darkened, that it might be relighted in its incorruptible glory.

He is risen! Yes; and now we see more fully the meaning of His own words, spoken at a tomb, and over one whom death had bound, ‘I am the resurrection and the life;’ Himself at once the raiser and the raised, the quickener and the quickened, the possessor and the giver of an infinite life,—a higher kind of life than that which the first Adam knew,—a life which can force its way into the dungeons of death, transforming them, by its resistless power, into the dwellings, the palaces, the temples of immortality and glory.

He is risen! He has tasted death, but He has not seen corruption; for He is the Holy One of God, and upon holiness corruption cannot fasten. As the beloved of the Father, He rises from the dead; for therefore doth the Father love Him, because He giveth His life for the sheep.

And in this resurrection we read the Father’s testimony to His Sonship; the Father’s seal set to His completed propitiation; the Father’s declaration of satisfaction and delight in the work of Calvary.

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 131-4.

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“The resurrection of the Son of God” by Horatius Bonar

“Let us look a little more minutely into Christ’s resurrection, lest we should be led to undervalue it. The resurrection must not hide the cross; neither must the cross hide the resurrection. The words of the angel to the women are meant for us: ‘He is not here for He is risen’ (Matt. 28:6).

Man did all that he could to hinder the resurrection of the Son of God. He had succeeded in slaying the Prince of life; and he is resolved that, if he can help it, the dead shall not arise. Samson is in prison, and must be kept there. The great stone, the watch, the Roman seal, are all proofs of this determination.

But he knows not his prisoner. He might as well bind the whirlwind with a cord of silk, or shut up the lightning in one of his chambers, and say to it, ‘Thou shalt not go forth.’ Death itself, stronger than man, could not hold its prey. Ere the dawn of the third day, the earthquake shook the tomb, the angel of the Lord descended, the stone was rolled away, the seal was broken, and the dead came forth.

Even His own believe not that He will rise. They would not try to hinder His resurrection, but, treating it as a thing incredible, they act as those who believe that all is over, and that the cross has destroyed their hopes. They would not close the sepulchre, nor seal it; nay, they would roll away the stone and break the seal: but this is only to anoint Him for His final burial. It is not the expression of hope, but of despair.

But the tomb of the Son of God is the place of light, not of darkness; of hope, not of despair; of life, not of death. They come to look on the dead, they find the living. The seekers of the crucified Jesus find the risen Son of God. The garments of death are all that the tomb contains; the linen clothes, still stained with blood, and the carefully—folded napkin,—folded by angels’ hands, if not by His own.

They had brought their myrrh and aloes and spices to keep corruption from entering; forgetful that it is the Incorruptible whose body they are thus needlessly though lovingly embalming, and ignorant of the meaning of the ancient promise, ‘Thou wilt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.’

But friend and enemy are both at fault. The unbelief of the former and the resistance of the latter are met equally with a strange surprise. For God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. The angel of the Lord descends; he rolls back the stone; he sits upon it, to show himself in his brightness to the watchers; he opens the gate, that the Holy One may go forth. Not that he raises or assists in raising the Son of God.

That is beyond the mightiest of these mighty ones, those angels that excel in strength. But he is honoured to have a share in the scene, as porter or doorkeeper of that glorious shrine. With him came the earthquake— the second that had occurred during these three days: the first being when the Prince of life entered the chambers of death, and at the open door many of the dead saints of other days came forth; the second being when this same Prince of life left these chambers, and burst the bands of death, shaking creation with the tread of His feet as He marched forth in triumph.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 127-9.

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“The life that is in Him is resurrection-life” by Horatius Bonar

“It was henceforth with a risen Master that the disciples had to do. It was a risen Christ who was their companion on the way to Emmaus; it was a risen Christ who entered the upper chamber with ‘Peace be to you’ on His lips; it was a risen Christ who appeared to five hundred brethren at once; it was a risen Christ that saluted them by the sea of Galilee, and prepared for them their morning meal on the fire of coals; it was a risen Christ with whom they companied during the forty days when He went out and in among them.

And it is now with a risen Christ that we have to do in the pathways of our daily pilgrimage. At every turn of the way, resurrection meets us in the person of the Lord Jesus, and says to us, ‘Because I live, ye shall live also.’ For the life that is in Him is resurrection-life.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 134-5.

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