He is Risen in Joy


He is risen! Happy Easter to all, and may the joy of Easter spread through your week. My Easter morning was spent at my home church, Living Hope Christian Church in North Kingstown, RI. The sermon I heard got me thinking. I don’t think my pastor, Peter Atkin, will mind if I use it as a jumping off point.

We looked at the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany just days before his crucifixion (Matthew 26:6-13). Jesus explains that she has anointed Him in preparation of His burial. I started to wonder about that. I am used to anointings that come in times of great joy, but we don’t think of burials as joyful. For instance, I thought of one of my favorite verses from Psalm 45, where a wedding is taking place:

You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.(Psalm 45:7)

The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus saw the joy beyond the crucifixion:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus encouraged His disciples to see the joy beyond the coming days:

Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:22)

Past the days of the horrible death and burial lay a reunion with the risen Christ and a joy no one could take away. More than that, He wanted for them a joy that was complete (John 16:24b) and that was the full measure of His joy as well (John 17:13b).

Then Paul ties together the reason for Christ’s suffering with a wedding, not the one literally described in Psalm 45, but the spiritual one that we all are part of:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy…. (Ephesians 5:25-26a)

So the anointing of Jesus’ burial could still be an anointing of the joy set before Him and the joy that lays ahead for us when we are with Him in perfect joy.

The Open Tomb

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