Yesterday, April 4th, 2021, Lifeway Church gathered for three services and celebrated what is perhaps the greatest event in human history: Jesus Christ rose from the dead! While thinking about what to write about in today’s blog, my mind went back 50 years to the first time I heard a song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. The song is titled “Because He Lives.”
“Because He Lives,” published in 1971, was written in the midst of social upheaval, threats of war, and betrayals of national and personal trust. It was into this world at such a time that Nancy and I were beginning our family. Assassinations, racial tension, drug trafficking, and war monopolized the headlines. It sounds like not much has changed in 50 years. But it was in the midst of this kind of uncertainty that the assurance of the Lordship of the risen Christ blew across our troubled minds like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Holding our little Barbie in our arms we were able to sing:
“How sweet to hold our newborn baby,
And feel the pride, and joy she gives;
But greater still the calm assurance,
this child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
The song “Because He Lives” begins with the empty grave on the first Easter Sunday. Stanza two [quoted above] is about hope, even in uncertain times, because of the singular significance of the Resurrection event. Stanza three takes us to heaven where we will “see the lights of glory and… know He [Jesus] reigns.”
This gospel song has undoubtedly offered hope for many people because of its connection between the Resurrection and a “life… worth the living.” I want to take the chorus of this anthem and offer four realities that Jesus’ resurrection gives to us:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…
Tomorrow, with all of its uncertainties. Tomorrow, with its ominous threats. Tomorrow, with its seemingly bleak forecast. Tomorrow, with its pandemics and politics. I can face it all because He lives! I can face it all because tomorrow, He will never leave me nor forsake me. Tomorrow, He will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory. I am in His hands, and since He is for me, who or what can be against me? He is the same yesterday, today and forever! I can face tomorrow with courage, faith and optimism, and offer hope to a hopeless world.
Because He lives, all fear is gone…
Fear, that crippling emotion that causes us to flee, freeze or fight. Fear, that robs us of our peace and limits our potential. Fear, that neutralizes our faith and makes it harder to please God. Fear, that makes us vulnerable and easier to control. Our adversary the Devil is as a roaring lion; but Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah. His roar is real, and because He lives all my fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living, just because He lives…
You may not know what your future holds, but you can know the One who holds your future. Life is worth living, not just surviving. Don’t waste the one-an-only life you’ll ever have fretting and fearing. This isn’t a dress rehearsal. You don’t get to come back and try again. Live it to the fullest, on purpose and for a purpose. Jesus called it the life “more abundant” (John 10:10). How can you live such a life? Why is it possible to live such a life? BECAUSE HE LIVES!
Historians tell us that the first century Christians had two common ways they would greet one another. One was “He is risen,” to which the other would reply, “He is risen indeed!” In other words, there’s no doubt about it. The other common greeting was “Maranatha,” to which the other would reply, “The Lord is coming!”
Jesus lives, and Jesus is coming. And because of that truth you can face tomorrow, all your fear can be gone, He holds your future, and your life is worth the living.
HE IS RISEN INDEED!