RISE and SHINE!
How often have we heard these three words used to rouse us from sleep and remind us to get up, get out, and get on with our day? Whether you are the recipient or the initiator of this sometimes annoying practice, we all have to wake up and face the day. For some of us, it’s not until after a shower and several cups of coffee that our body and mind actually seem to get focused. But, when we have officially risen from the dark dream world of night and come into alignment with the light of day, it’s time for us, as an old Latin adage says, to Carpe Diem (Seize the Day).
So, you ask, what does this all have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Glad you asked! Let me share some thoughts.
RISE and SHINE!
As Christians, this could be our Easter anthem; it is a rallying call that has implications about what Jesus did for us and now calls us to do as well. In conquering death and sin, Jesus extended his ability to “Rise and Shine” to us. The apostle John masterfully cast the struggle between good and evil, personified in Jesus and Satan, in terms of light and darkness, which further translates into salvation and grace vs. sin and death. Jesus claimed, “I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5). “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25). He backed that up by rising from the dead and offering a new, transformed life to all who would claim and follow him as Lord and Savior. Paul writes at length in Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians about the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. Paul states, “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost. And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-20).
This singular, monumental event of Jesus’ resurrection validates everything about what Jesus had said and done and gives credence to our Christian faith. It is pivotal to our belief, and is the most significant and spiritual event in history. No one else can claim this in any other religion. Our faith is based on fact, not superstition or another person’s opinion. Hundreds of witnesses saw and interacted with the risen Lord; this changed their lives, and they became willing to die for their faith in Jesus – and, “Martyrs don’t die for myths.” Think about Peter and John speaking to the council of religious leaders in Jerusalem about the risen Savior in Acts 4. Even the council could see that something had happened to change and give courage to Jesus’ followers: “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scripture.” (Acts 4:13).
RISE and SHINE!
Jesus made it clear in his teachings to his disciples that his “light” and “transformed/resurrected state” that paid our debt of sin was to be passed on. The “Rise and Shine” of Jesus was available to all and his followers were to pay it forward: “Go and make disciples of all nations…Teach these new disciples…I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:18-20 – the Great Commission). “You are the light of the world…let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.” (Matthew 5:14-16). In Chapter 6 of Romans Paul describes how this all becomes possible for us to die to ourselves by dying to sin and be baptized in Christ and rise to a new life. “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in death, we will also be raised to life as he was.” (Romans 6:2-5).
RISE and SHIINE!
So next time you hear “Rise and Shine,” maybe you might not only wake up, but also remember to get up, get out, and get on with another day, another opportunity to go forth to others and “Rise and Shine” with the love of Jesus. Maybe even start singing the old children’s gospel hymn, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” (But only if you want to – maybe in the shower?)