May 2019

“Behold I am alive for evermore”  Revelation 1.18  (RSV)

We have just celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Jesus – a specific, momentous day in history which has reverberated down the ages.  That Jesus died and then rose alive from the dead is such a central, core belief for Christians that it is easy for us to take it for granted and not plumb its depths in contemplation.

Yet if we do spend time contemplating this historical fact and mystery we are rewarded with deep joy and a real strengthening of our faith and hope.  We gain a much deeper understanding of who we are and a much greater confidence about our place and our mission in God’s world.

We are more familiar with Jesus’ “I am” statements from the gospels: “I am the light of the world”; “I am the good shepherd” and many more. But here we have Jesus speaking post-resurrection from heaven in the last book of the Bible, saying: “Behold, I am alive for evermore”.  The Book of Revelation was written to encourage persecuted Christians across the Roman world to assure them that, although they may live through challenging times and hardships, God’s justice and purpose would win out in the end.

“Behold, I am alive for evermore” is Jesus reminding faithful Christians that his resurrection is not just a one-off event; a ‘day in the life’.  Just as God is “the same yesterday, today and forever”, so Jesus’ resurrection is real and efficacious in our past, present and future too.  And we come to know the depth of this truth through contemplation – through sitting and allowing Jesus to speak these words to us over and over again: “Behold, I am alive forevermore”.  And as we do that it dawns upon us that we don’t just believe this statement with our minds, we embody this truth in our lives.  Behold, we know that Jesus is alive now because he lives in us and through us!  As the apostle Paul wrote: “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me!” (Gal 2.20)

So with joy we too can sing:

‘It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.

It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.

He lives!  He lives!  Jesus is alive in me.

It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.’     Sally Ellis © 1980 Thank You Music