Readings: Luke 24:1-9, John 6:26-58, 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, Revelation 1:12-18, Revelation 21:5-7, Revelation 22:12-16
The apostle John was there that night—that night in Gethsemane when his Lord was led away bound, the hope of Israel just a few hours away from being crushed. He was there at the foot of the cross when it happened. He watched the last breath leave Christ’s body and saw the sword slice brutally into His side.
He saw Jesus dead.
But he was also there three days later, in a different garden, when the tomb was found empty, and the angel asked, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?”
He was there when Christ appeared among the disciples and showed them His scars, healed.
And he was there on the island of Patmos as an old, old man, when the Christ appeared to him and said, “I am the first and the last.”
He saw Jesus alive.
This, the reality of Christ’s life, is the cornerstone upon which the Christian faith is built. Without it, according to the apostle Paul, “Your faith is worthless” (1 Corinthians 15:17), for our certainty of redemption and resurrection is only as strong as the certainty of His life. We do not worship a dead Jesus, nor do we pay homage to His body hanging on a tree—no, we walk with a God who is very much alive.
The Baby we celebrate at Christmas means nothing if He does not predate all things, and the Sacrifice we celebrate at Easter is wasted if He does not exist after all things. Only the Living One—the Alpha and the Omega, the I AM—can have final authority over death.
I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.