“He lives, He lives…Christ Jesus lives today.”
So went the lyrics of a hymn that was a staple in my youth, sung every Easter Sunday in my church in Evansville, Indiana.
This song, contained in more modern hymnals, was written in 1933 by Alfred Henry Ackley. I learned much later in my life that many churches dislike this song, due to its included subjective references, such as “He walks with me….”
While from a theological standpoint, I can see their point, I still believe the message of the song is solid. And if believers in our world today need anything, it is the reminder that Christ lives, and in a very real way, He walks with us with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Without a doubt, there is a battle going on in our culture, a seemingly declared war on all things that would have to do with Christians. The truth is, we shouldn’t be surprised. The Scripture warns us that we are going to face all sorts of trials in our life and that we would share in the sufferings of Christ.
What Jesus went through on that first Good Friday is unthinkable, the very epitome of suffering, on a global scale. In fact, it is impossible for us to even conceive the weight of suffering experienced on that cross by the Son of God, who willingly endured crucifixion, motivated by His great love for those who believe.
Churches around the world observed the somber services that mark Good Friday. But today is a different story. Just as the predawn light emerges in the thickest of darkness, and instantly morning has arrived, so is the impact of the resurrection of Christ.
The Bible records in Luke 23 and 24 that the women who had followed to the tomb when Jesus was buried came on the first day of the week, before dawn. Upon arrival, they were shocked at the sight. The stone that had sealed the tomb was rolled away. They entered the tomb, and discovered that the body of Jesus was not there. Luke 24 records what happened next:
“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen…” (Luke 24:4-6a ESV)
Astonishment turned to joy, and the women rushed to tell the others the great news shared to them by holy angels. “He was not there…He has risen. Christ Jesus lives.”
On this Easter Sunday morning, I am once again encouraged by that familiar old song. And I am glad to be able to sing, “He walks with me, and talks with me…along life’s narrow way.”