Rejoice, Christ is Risen!

Matthew 28: 8-15
Acts 2:14, 22-33 / Psa 16

My heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, for you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see corruption. You show me the path to life, you fill me with joy in your presence.
(Psalm 16:9-11)

Let us rejoice, Christ has risen!
Satan is banished forever!
Men on earth, angels in heaven
Sing Halleluiahs together.

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of His 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.” While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and told them, “You are to say, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28: 8-15)

Reflection

In the Book of Acts, Peter, the once humble fisherman who was now filled with the Holy Spirit, quoted the above Psalm (16) written by King David, wherein he had prophesied the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter said, “He (King David) foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was He abandoned to the netherworld nor did His flesh see corruption” (First Reading: Acts 2:31).

Peter quoted Scriptures to prove the Resurrection of Jesus, as prophesied by King David himself and the other prophets, and counter the lie that the chief priests and Pharisees were spreading that “His disciples came by night and stole Him while we were asleep” (Mt. 28:13). The Pharisees had even bribed the soldiers guarding the tomb with a large sum of money just to propagate the lie that the Resurrection of Jesus never happened. And this unfortunate secret has been kept from most of the Jews up to the present age.

The Jews missed out on the two most important historical events in their lives as God’s ‘Chosen People’ – the birth of the Promised Messiah (which was predicted by their prophets), and His Resurrection (which was covered up by their leaders). There is no such thing as Christmas or Easter in the country of Israel. Only the Arab and Greek Orthodox Christians, and some migrants, celebrate them there. Small wonder that this troubled, scattered people have never found rest from conflicts and strife since time immemorial. As our Lord Jesus said: “Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says, ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes…” (Mt. 13:14-15)

We are blessed in the gift of faith that has come down to us through the early Christian Church, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We who believe in the Risen Lord are sustained by the Word of God in the Bible. We cannot help but rejoice during this wonderful season of Easter because we believe the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus has opened the doors of heaven to us. This is the hope that gives us joy. May your Easter be a joyful one!

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Who destroyed death and brought us to life. Hear our prayers which we offer in the hope of eternal glory, and grant that we who have received new life in the resurrection of Jesus may always praise and worship You, Father, with Your Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ages to come. Amen.

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