Message from Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett: Easter 2023
“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and, on the third day, be raised again.” Luke 24:6-7
Christians around the world open Easter worship with the greeting, “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” This is more than a tradition that traces its roots back to the early church. It is the central tenet of Christian theology.
Jesus’ Resurrection is proclaimed throughout the New Testament. For instance, Luke’s Gospel tells us that early on the first Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and several other women arrived at the tomb where Jesus’ body had been placed after his crucifixion. It was surprising enough to them to find the stone rolled away from the tomb’s entrance. It was even more confusing to not find Jesus’ body in the tomb. The final shock was to see two men in dazzling clothes standing beside them. Frightened and with no idea what would happen next, the women bowed their faces to the ground. Imagine their amazement when the men said to them, “He is not here; He has risen!” (Luke 24:6a) Then the two men reminded the women that once, while ministering in the Galilean area (Luke 9:21-23), Jesus had predicted to his disciples that he would be crucified and on the third day, raised from the dead. (Luke 24:6b-7).
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Not only did this truth make all the difference to the women at the tomb 2000+ years ago. It transforms the lives of Christ-followers today.
- proves God’s unconditional love for us.
- proclaims to the world that the power of sin and death has been broken.
- reminds us that Christ continues to reach out even after we have disappointed and failed him.
- instills hope when we are experiencing rough patches in our lives.
- gives us confidence that we are not saying our final goodbye to loved ones at their graveside services.
- shows that nothing is impossible for God to accomplish.
- means more to humanity than can be captured in words.
- demonstrates that there is more to the story than what we see here and now.
I invite you to spend a few minutes today reflecting on how the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection makes a difference in your life. Then let the words of the Easter Greeting resonate, not only in your ears, but also in your heart and spirit. “He is Risen. He is Risen indeed!”
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
Holston and North Alabama Conferences