Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter to you all: I hope you are enjoying a restful, restorative, and inspiring day of celebration. Today our pastor read John Chrysostom’s famous Easter sermon, and for me, it was a contemplation of Christ’s victory over death.
There are many ways of looking at the crucifixion and resurrection, but this year, I have been thinking about the battle with the Lord of the Dead motif, popular in the time of Christ and the early Church (see references to it in the Fathers), and made popular again in our own day by CS Lewis. In The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the White Witch represents the Lord of the Dead, Baal Zebul, Hades, Satan. Until the victory of Aslan, she holds the dead in her domain – the statues in her castle. When Aslan rises from death, he liberates the dead from her castle – emptying Hades – and they form an army to join him in battle against the enemy. The battle at the end of the book represents the victory of Christ over the spiritual forces of darkness, and the subsequent reign of the Children of Adam can be understood as either the influence of the Church for good in the here and now,or as the Millennial or Eternal reign of God in the new heavens and new earth after the Parousia. (CS Lewis also wrote The Last Battle, which deals with these themes more explicitly.)
We take it for granted today that we do not have to belong to Satan’s dominion, but it took Christ to liberate us. If He had not done so, because all sin, all would be subject to the Lord of the Dead. But Christ has triumphed; now He is the one who “holds the keys to death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18).
What does that mean for us going forward? There are a few conclusions to be drawn.
- Satan is beaten: his final defeat has not yet come, but the resurrection is the evidence to tell us that it will. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
- We have good news to share: but sometimes we need to provide some context to make that news more intelligible to a modern audience.
- There is a better world to come: we should not settle for the imperfections of this life.
Happy Easter to you all.