This year As Christians around the world gather and remember the resurrection of Christ, may we pause to consider our oneness with Christ and with each other. When He died, it was our sins that were settled. When He was raised, it was our victory that was secured. The body of Christ in the Earth today is empowered to be victorious. It is our calling and our destiny to walk on the path to victory. But first we need to come to terms with what the path to victory looks like…
On Friday, Jesus was hanging on a cross, the Earthly authorities having seemingly extinguished the movement He came to establish. It didn’t look good, but in fact He was on the path to victory.
When Jesus was sending out his Twelve disciples he prepared them to walk the path of victory ; saying:
His counsel to his disciples was that they should not expect better treatment than He would receive.
Matthew suffered martyrdom by being slain with a sword at a distant city of Ethiopia. But He was on the path to victory.
Mark expired at Alexandria, after being cruelly dragged through the streets of that city. But He was on the path to victory.
Luke was hanged upon an olive tree in the classic land of Greece. But He was on the path to victory.
John was put in a caldron of boiling oil, but escaped death in a miraculous manner, and was afterward banished to Patmos. But He was on the path to victory.
Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward. But He was on the path to victory.
James, the Greater, was beheaded at Jerusalem. But He was on the path to victory.
James, the Less, was thrown from a lofty pinnacle of the temple, and then beaten to death with a fuller’s club. But He was on the path to victory.
Bartholomew was flayed alive. But He was on the path to victory.
Andrew was bound to a cross, whence he preached to his persecutors until he died. But He was on the path to victory.
Thomas was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel in the East Indies. But He was on the path to victory.
Jude was shot to death with arrows. But He was on the path to victory.
Matthias was first stoned and then beheaded. But He was on the path to victory.
Barnabas of the Gentiles was stoned to death at Salonica. But He was on the path to victory.
Paul, after various tortures and persecutions, was at length beheaded at Rome by the Emperor Nero. But He was on the path to victory.
He told them what to expect and asked them to be bold anyway; he told them not to fear those who kill the body but have not authority over eternal souls.
Matthew 10: 26“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell
Matthew 10: 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
The Whole Church is the Body of Christ and all will participate in the sufferings of the body of Christ.
Matthew 10: 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
It turns out that the scenery on the path to Victory is often not so hot, but the destination makes it all worthwhile.
1 Corinthians 15: 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hopeb in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
Regardless of our geography or eschatology, we are not exempt from persecution, suffering, and even martyrdom. A student is not above his teacher.
American Christians are not above Chinese Christians which are not above the 12 disciples which are not above Christ.
What we are is victoriously empowered to travel the path of victory in His presence, in the shelter of His arms, in complete boldness and confidence that at the end of it all, at the very end, we win and will live forever with Him in Resurrection Power. Resurrection power is why Andrew preached to his executioners until he died. Resurrection Power is what martyrs the world over count on when they refuse to recant their faith knowing full well the consequences.
Right now, to those with eyes to see, things don’t look good at all.
But be not discouraged, we are in fact still on the path to victory. What we need is to walk that path in Christ’s Resurrection power in boldness, love, and steadfastness.
Resurrection is what the ultimate victory looks like because it reminds the “god of this age” (2 cor 4:4) that his authority is for a time, time, and half-a-time or perhaps a bit longer. Whereas we know that eternity is forever.
1 Peter 4: 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of gloryb and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”c 19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Happy Resurrection Day – stay the course.
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Bonus - My top 5 Resurrection Day songs , some traditional inspirational, some a bit more modern and even crunchy;)