"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures... (but) if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 14)
Not long ago I discovered that the windshield wipers on my car were in bad shape. Thinking this wasn't a big problem, I postponed replacing them. After all, they did the job well enough and I had more pressing things to attend to. And then came the rain - heavy rain. Late at night, on a stretch of the freeway without street-lamps. In a matter of minutes I was blind to the road and the other cars around me. I pulled over and waited until the rain subsided. Sometimes a small thing is actually a big thing.
Just last week we discovered that our family van needed a new transmission. Now, I'm no mechanic, but I know enough about cars to know that a transmission is not a small thing. Without it, the power of the engine is useless. Without a transmission, the wheels won't turn. And without turning wheels, a car is about as useful as a lead balloon. A big thing is always a big thing.
For the Christian, the gospel is a big thing. According to the apostle Paul, the gospel is THE big thing - the priority - that of first importance. It is the "power of God for salvation", and in Paul's view that power is transmitted to the believer through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Without the resurrection, faith is useless. Without Christ conquering death, the gospel breaks down. Without new life, the sinner stays dead on the side of the road.
It's important to remember that the resurrection of Jesus is no small thing. The gospel is powerful because of the resurrection. And as such, it is very good to keep it as first priority in our worship together every Sunday. A wise man once said, "Every Sunday for the Christian is Easter Sunday." So true. Every Sunday is the Lord's Day. Christ the Lord is risen every Sunday, and all six days in between!
If ever we are tempted to diminish the resurrection, then we have all the more reason to gather together for weekly worship which reminds us of what Christ has accomplished by conquering death. We may come into our weekly fellowship thinking that the resurrection is a small thing, but we couldn't be more wrong. It should never be neglected, never avoided, never placed in the background. Instead, the gospel (in all of its parts!) must be put on full display every Sunday to remind each and every one of us how vital it truly is. In the gospel, the resurrection is no small thing.
"O Praise the Name (Anástasis)" is a song that seeks to remind the believer of the primary importance of the gospel story. Each verse lays out the essential components of the good news - that Jesus died, was buried and rose to life on the third day - and that He will one day return and all His church will rise to be like Him and remain with Him for eternity. That is why "anástasis" adorns the song's title - it is the biblical word for "resurrection". It is a reminder that the saints' highest praise to their Savior is birthed out of Christ's conquering of death, once for all. And it is this blessed hope that fuels not only the praise of His people now, but as it will be for eternity.
I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet
My Savior on that cursed tree
His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph's tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone
O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God
Then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death, where is your sting
The angels roar for Christ the King
He shall return in robes of white
The blazing sun shall pierce the night
And I will rise among the saints
My gaze transfixed on Jesus' face
Benjamin Hastings | Dean Ussher | Marty Sampson © 2015 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)