THE EASTER GOSPEL
Dr. George Sweeting tells of an incident in the early 1920s when Communist leader Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address an anti-God rally. For an hour he abused and ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if the whole structure of belief was in ruins. Then questions were invited.
An Orthodox priest rose and asked to speak. He turned and faced the people and with a loud voice gave the Easter greeting: “HE IS RISEN!” Instantly, the assembly rose to its feet and the reply came back loud and clear: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
That priest probably paid dearly for his courage. Likely, he was either executed or exiled to Siberia. But I guarantee you that right now in the glories of heaven he is eternally grateful that one day in Kiev he dared to name the name that is above every name, the name of that one who owns the future, the name of that one whose kingdom is growing even in spite of the attempt to silence the faith.
Today in the Middle East and in many Muslim countries, one could be jailed or even crucified or beheaded for declaring that JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN! Conversely, in our comfortable Western freedom, it costs very little to declare the Easter gospel. Therefore, we must pray for our endangered brothers and sisters, and shout all the more loudly on their behalf, HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:14, 19-20).