My dear sons and daughters,
Christ is risen, truly He is risen!
Ekhristos anesti, Alithos anesti!
The angel said to the women: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6).
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the Christianity. “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith isalso empty.” (1 Corinthians 15:14). If there was no resurrection, Christianity is a hoax.
The resurrection of the Son of God is a constant reminder to us of many wonderful biblical truths:
First, the resurrection is one of the major evidences that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. St. Paul affirmed that Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4).
Second, Jesus’ resurrection represents an assurance that we can have forgiveness from our sins. “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Third, the resurrection tells the world that the kingdom of God is ruled by a living sovereign. Sixty years after his death–Jesus appeared to John on the island of Patmos and said “I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” (Revelation 1:17-18).
Fourth, Jesus’ resurrection proves that physical death is not the termination of human existence. God, who is the giver of life “who gives life to all things” (1 Timothy 6:13), has the power to reanimate the human body. Christ’s triumph over the grave is Heaven’s pledge to us that we too shall be raised.
Fifth, the Lord’s resurrection previewed the ultimate victory of Christianity over all its enemies. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is depicted as a lamb that had been slain, but was standing again. “And behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.” (Revelation 5:6). This same Lord was “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) that had overcome his foes.
We honor our Master’s victory over death–not only once a year, but every Sunday throughout the year! And also for fifty days following the Glorious Feast of Resurrection.
Wishing all of you a happy Feast of the Resurrection, through the prayers of our beloved father, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.
May God bless all of you,
— His Grace Bishop Mina
Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver, and Western Canada