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THE OVERCOMER MAGAZINE - NOVEMBER 2013 - MARCH 2014
CHRIST IS RISEN AND ASCENDED
Click on titles above for individual articles in this edition.
‘Life Begins at Easter.’
By David Ritchie.
‘Life begins at Easter’, or to put it another way, ‘The best news the world ever had came from a graveyard!’
That is the conviction of millions of Christians who have found Jesus Christ not simply to be a remote historical figure but someone who is very much alive today. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, far from being a fairy-tale ending to an otherwise tragic story, lies right at the heart of the Christian faith. What difference, though, can the Resurrection make today?
The Past can be Forgiven.
Just as at Christmas we make no sense of the Baby without looking forward to the Man who lived and died, so at Easter we make no sense of the Resurrection without looking back to the events of Good Friday. Remember that the symbol of Christianity is not a manger, nor even an empty tomb, but a cross.
As we read the Gospel account of the crucifixion, so we are reminded of the ignorance of the soldiers, the weakness of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, the greed of Judas, the cowardice of Peter, the instability of the crowd, and we realize that we too are guilty of exactly the same sins which nailed Jesus to the Cross - gossip, greed, prejudice, fear, slander.
If Jesus never rose from the dead then His claims to forgive sin, to be the Resurrection and the Life, even to be the Son of God, would all have been a pack of lies. But if He has conquered death then He speaks with an authority which is unique, or as one of His followers put it, “Because of our sins Jesus was handed over to die, and He was raised to life in order to put us right with God”.
The Present can be Transformed.
If Jesus is dead, then what sense can we make of His life, His teaching and His miracles that are preserved for us in the New Testament? At best they would be an interesting collection of stories, at worst a system of rules that we would find impossible to keep.
But the implication of the Resurrection is that Jesus can give us the power to live out His teaching ourselves. Indeed, He said as much in His last words to His followers, “I will be with you always to the end of the age”. And He keeps His promises, as so many Christians have discovered, and witness to the fact that Christ is alive, and comes to people and speaks to them and changes their lives. One university lecturer in Computing Science put it this way, ‘Walking with Jesus Christ through life is the most liberating of all possible relationships. He knows and understands me better than I can ever hope to understand myself. Gradually He is releasing me from my fears and enabling me to discover and become the person He wants me to be. His capacity for loving and forgiving is endless. He forgives me even when I cannot forgive myself. Nothing can ever separate me from Him so I am never alone’.
The Future is Assured.
Death is the great unmentionable in our society. We don’t understand it and we avoid discussing it at all costs, and if Jesus Christ still lies in the grave all of us have every reason to fear, and Christians should be pitied because, as the Bible says, “If Christ has not been raised then your faith is a delusion . . .”.
But, if Jesus Christ is alive then the Resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter, is indeed “God’s answer to man’s greatest fear”.
In our more serious moments we long to know what lies on the other side of the grave. Jesus has pioneered the way and the answer resounds from the empty tomb, “In Christ shall all be made alive”.
Easter is no fairy-tale festival. Through His Resurrection Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for the past, the promise of His companionship today, and the assurance that all our tomorrows are in His hands. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that 'Life begins at Easter!’
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The Editor’s Letter
My dear Friends,
In the last edition of ‘The Overcomer’ magazine we looked into a few of the wonderful truths to do with the fact that ‘Christ was Crucified’. Now we continue our studies by looking at the fact that ‘Christ is Risen and Ascended’. We can only touch on some of the great truths of this wonderful theme but I trust that what you read here will encourage you to go deeper into the realities available to us as we enter into a fuller understanding and dependance upon our risen Saviour, our Great High Priest, who is standing at the right hand of our glorious God.
May our risen and ascended Lord make the fact of His life in us, as we trust Him, more real and wonderful, day by day.
The peace and grace of the Lord be with you.
In His precious Name,
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