Aren’t you excited, Preacher, that next Sunday is resurrection Sunday?

“Hold on,” I can hear you say, “that Holmes guy has his calendar all crossed up!” I sure do, but it’s not because I submitted my Easter column too late this year. I know you will not see these words until Easter has past, but I want to make a point for all preachers. That point is this coming Sunday is resurrection Sunday! Are you confused? Let me explain.

Resurrection! What a word! Back in the seventh century, St. John of Damascus got excited about it and wrote:

The day of resurrection’; Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, The Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, From this world to the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over With hymns of victory.

Resurrection is a great word! Savored, it has power to stir the imagination of the most discouraged person in your pews or draw forth repentance and belief from that unsaved person who, similar to King Agrippa in Acts 16, is almost persuaded. Such is the power of that one word, resurrection.
Yet, these two thoughts about resurrection do not begin to scrape the dynamic power of this one marvelous word. Why is it that many of us think of this word as being for a long ago past or some glorious hoped for future event? Resurrection is one of those always-contemporary, never out-of-style dynamic words.

Even in ancient Israel, resurrection was a highly misunderstood notion. Israel came late to the idea of individualized resurrection because of its sense of nationalized religion, which taught that the only hope of happiness was in the deceased person’s restoration to the nation. People who died before the fulfillment of the nation’s Messianic promises usually were disregarded.

Resurrection is a now idea and a very preachable one. Take it into your pulpit this coming Sunday. If you get a chance to preach before then, don’t wait until Sunday. Resurrection happens every day. It is happening this day! People are passing from death into eternal life, from darkness to light, from the perishable to the imperishable because of their vital rebirth in Jesus through the power of the Spirit of Him who assures us that because He lives so we shall live.

Paul reminds us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).

There is a resurrection past. It was sealed for us in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is past, but it is not old. It came to the church in the past, but it is still fresh. There is a resurrection future; one day we all will be taken up to meet the Lord in the air. There is a resurrection now, Paul said, and we dare not forget to preach it. There is a victory over death for which we do not have to wait until the graves are opened. We may experience it today, and so may the people to whom we preach this Sunday.

As surely as Paul felt it as he sat writing from his stone-cold Roman prison cell to his friends in Colossae, so we may bring that same good news to our beloved congregation every time we preach. Worn out, whipped, feeble, bound in chains—nothing could steal his resurrection joy. Let Rome do its vilest to him; Paul knew he was a risen man. By faith in things unseen and eternal, Paul’s soul could smile at the sure and certain knowledge that he already had won the victory through Jesus.

So find a way to go from this Sunday’s text to the same certainty that captured the heart of Paul. Invite your listeners to join you on the journey that started at Calvary, is consummated in eternity future and ever-present today. That’s resurrection now!

Get your calendar all crossed up, for unto us is entrusted the gospel of the cross and the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Leslie Holmes loves preachers and teaches pastoral theology and preaching at Erskine Theological Seminary in South Carolina and Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia. He can be reached at

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