20 June, 2024

True Champions

by | 27 March, 2023 | 2 comments

By Doug Redford 

At this time of year, several major sporting events are taking place, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the Masters Golf Tournament, and the start of the Major League Baseball season. But these pale in comparison to the event Christians celebrate on Resurrection Sunday, which is next week. 

First, we celebrate the championship won by Jesus’ conquest of Satan through his resurrection. On one occasion, Jesus pictured his dominance over Satan with this illustration: “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house” (Matthew 12:29). Jesus announced to the apostle John, exiled on the island of Patmos, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). And Jesus is not letting go of them! 

Second, we celebrate Jesus as “Master” of the grave, which allows us to be “masters” as well. Satan was lying when he told Eve, “You shall not surely die,” but Jesus was speaking absolute truth when he declared, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). Jesus changed the vocabulary of death, transforming it into a “sleepover.” Paul wrote, “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). We can “encourage one another with these words” (v. 18) in the present century as confidently as believers could in the first century. 

Third, on Resurrection Sunday we celebrate “opening day,” for the women arrived at Jesus’ tomb and found it opened—and empty! Never had anything so empty possessed such great worth. It is worth noting that two other “openings” occurred on the day Jesus arose: Jesus “opened the Scriptures” so the two men traveling toward Emmaus could grasp them as never before (Luke 24:32), and then later that day he appeared to the remaining disciples in Jerusalem and “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (v. 45). Jesus’ “opening day” began a whole new season of life for humanity! 

At Communion each Lord’s Day, we partake, symbolically, of Jesus’ body and blood as he indicated when he established that memorial. But we also partake personally and daily in the victory he achieved through his death and resurrection. We too are champions and masters, or as Paul put it, “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 

2 Comments

  1. Ed Rangel

    Thank you for your thoughts. However, is resurrection Sunday not every Sunday and not next Sunday? “Christians celebrate on Resurrection Sunday, which is next week.” Would you help me understand with Scripture why you teach Resurrection Sunday is next week? Thank you.

  2. Rev. David D Wayne Smith

    I really love the idea that taking communion remind us that we are more than conquerors, that in Christ all shall be made alive in him. But we worship on Sunday because he rose on the first day of the week. Though he rose only once, and that was on the feast of first fruits, which of course falls three days after the Passover, it changed forever the day of worship from the Shabbat (7th day) to the first day (resurrection day) of the week. So this makes every Sunday Shabbat for the believer in Christ, not one day of the year. This is why the Church of Christ observes communion every week.

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