He is risen!
If you go to church or are around Christians much today, you’ll likely hear this phrase repeated a lot, followed by “He is risen indeed!” Again and again, we repeat to each other the good news: Jesus Christ, God in flesh, the perfect man, who died on our behalf, has risen from the dead and is alive today—with the Father in heaven and in the Spirit with his servants. These are the facts that give us hope, faith, and life. For if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then there is no resurrection for any of us, and our faith is worthless and pitiable. Christians overseas are being tortured and killed for nothing, and Christians in the West, in relative safety, are giving up sinful pursuits for nothing.
But if Jesus did resurrect, then he has conquered death and sin. There is more to life than however many years we get on this earth, and that changes how we live here and now. He is following through on his promise to give us new, full life—partly given now, and partly given in our new, heavenly bodies. (See 1 Corinthians 15, from which I draw much of this post.)
So today, on Easter, we celebrate Jesus and the hope he has given us. We celebrate his victory.
A few years ago, before I took a break from Naruto Shippuden, I started reflecting on how characters looked to Naruto as a hero—how characters in many anime, just like those in real life, are seeking a hero, someone or something to save us from whatever’s weighing us down—the world’s darkness and evil, poverty, sickness, anxiety, addiction, harmful situations. I’ve recently resumed Shippuden, and this brings back those same reflections about humanity and who we put our hope in. Sometimes we look to ourselves for rescue, but most of us know that, ultimately, we’re not enough. And the other “heroes” we try to put our hope in fail us, too. Doctors can perform life-saving surgeries. Sometimes soldiers or authorities can help protect our lives and liberties. But no one can offer us the kind of hope that Jesus does. Even if Naruto was here in our reality, standing up to crooked world leaders and swooping in to help the many in need, he could only offer temporary hope, that of companionship and loyalty and maybe physical safety in this age.
We all sense the need for something to change. Christian or no, we all know the world’s messed up, and that we’re messed up on individual levels, even if we can’t pinpoint all the ways this is true. And we sense that death, both physical and spiritual, was never meant to be a permanent part of this humanity’s workings. Something needs to change. So, who do you put your hope in for that change? I’m putting all my hope in Jesus Christ. He conquered the grave, sin, and darkness. He’ll come back to finish the job, and he’ll give those who belong to him new life, like his, in eternal bodies. I need a hero. With his track record, Jesus makes the most sense.
Have a joyous Easter, dear readers!
Featured image is from the short “My Last Day,” which we have featured here at Beneath the Tangles multiple times around Easter. You can watch it here.