*(Yes “irrupt” IS a word, and IS spelled correctly… I looked it up! I was tempted to “correct” Cranmer, or thought it was just a British / US spelling difference, but there is an important distinction of meaning from “erupt”)
God died on Friday, and the world ended. Yesterday, He was lying in His tomb; all hope and promise of the coming kingdom buried with Him. Today, He is risen: God has irrupted into the present, and now we look forward to the eschatological fulfilment in the transformation of the world order, the ultimate redemption of the believer, and the final judgement.
No matter how hostile, antithetical or ‘secularised’ the world becomes, nothing will change this immutable truth. Jesus is alive. The resurrection of Christ is the “first fruits” of the full harvest – the resurrection of all believers. The risen Lord is the “firstborn from among the dead”. The power of sin has been conquered, but the consequence – physical death – remains, awaiting a future consummation. The Spirit is a “guarantee” of our ultimate redemption.
The resurrection of Christ split history in two; it divided BC from AD. It isn’t politic to say so in this age of religious equality, but Moses, Mohammed, Buddha and guru Nanak are all dead and in their tombs. Only Jesus is alive. Of course, to the superior intellects and enlightened ones, this is but a fairytale, a fantasy, an hallucination, a delusion.
But if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain. The Christian faith stands or falls with Christ’s resurrection. His death on the cross is historical fact brought about by man. His resurrection is an eschatological event brought about by God. Just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land, so He delivered mankind from sin and death that we might have eternal life. The blood of the first Passover which spared Israel’s firstborn foreshadows the second Passover and the Lamb who died that we might be born again.