Rejoice! Fear Not!
From the Pulpit – April 11, 2020
Omaha World Herald
Reverend Eric L. Jay
“Rejoice! Fear Not!”
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Fear is a force that can be one of the most overwhelming and destructive in our lives. Fear can take your breath away, it can make you sick, fear is contagious.
One could even say fear is a pandemic. At the heart of fear, is death. But the Good News my friends, is that Christ is Risen! Death has been defeated, fear vanquished, and our eternal connection with God restored through the blood of Christ shed for the whole world.
While teaching her class about the joy of Easter, a Sunday School asked her students, “What do you think were Jesus’ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?” An excited hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Leaping out of her chair a little girl shouted “I know, I know!” “Great!” the teacher said, “Tell us, what were Jesus’ first words.” Extending now both arms high into the air, the little girl shouted: “TA-DA!”
As cute as answer as that may be from a little child, the resurrected Christ’s first words were not “ta-da”, because Easter morning was no magic trick. His tomb was empty and His body was not there because Christ was not dead, He rose from the dead, and is risen indeed! Alleluia!
What were the first words of the resurrected Christ on Easter morning? “Rejoice!” That was Christ’s first word. “Rejoice!” God’s word tells us beginning in Matthew 28:9, “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
I think we all need to hear that one more time. “REJOICE! Do not be afraid!” What a powerful message we have been given to hold onto, especially in the fear that rules over the hearts and minds of so many in the middle of this Coronavirus pandemic. “Rejoice! Do not be afraid!” Why? Because Christ is Risen! Death itself has been crushed under the eternal glory of our Savior Jesus. Through faith alone in the death and resurrection of Christ, fear is cast out as we believe the promises of Christ proven true through His resurrection.
1 John 4 assures us that, “God is love. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” That is what Easter morning is all about; God’s perfect love for You in the resurrection of His perfect Son Jesus Christ who died and rose for your salvation.
Our salvation is secure through faith in what Christ has done for us. He is alive, and we live because He lives. He is coming again very soon. Believe in Christ and trust in Him. Do not be afraid. Amen.