"Thanks to Thee, O Christ, victorious! Thanks to Thee, O Lord of Life! Death hath now no power o'er us, Thou hast conquered in the strife. Thanks because Thou didst arise, And hast opened paradise! None can fully sing the glory, Of the resurrection story.
"For the joy Thine advent gave me, For Thy holy, precious Word; For Thy Baptism, which doth save me, For Thy blest Communion board, For Thy death, the bitter scorn, For Thy resurrection morn, Lord, I thank Thee and extol Thee, And in heav'n I shall behold Thee."
After the Lord's ascension, Jesus' disciples elected—under the Lord's guiding hand—a man named Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot. The selected individual had to have accompanied the disciples during Jesus' earthly ministry so that the new apostle could also be "a witness to his resurrection" (Acts 1:22b). The apostles, as eyewitnesses, knew the resurrection story. They saw the events unfold before their eyes, and they could not stop talking about it. Facing imprisonment and death, they said, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). Perhaps "none can fully sing the glory of the resurrection story," but those first eyewitnesses made every effort to do so!
We may not "fully sing the glory" of Jesus' resurrection, but we know the story that God has revealed to us in His Word, the written testimony of eyewitnesses. What is ours through that glorious story? The Savior bore our sins in His body on the cross and through His death paid the debt of sin we owed. Our sins are forgiven and paradise is open to us. Jesus rose from the dead, and death no longer has dominion over Him or over those who follow Him. The apostle Paul mocked death as an enemy defeated by Christ Jesus, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55) Our crucified and risen Lord has "conquered in the strife." Now, through faith in Jesus, we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37b).
Wrapped up in the glorious resurrection story are the gifts given to us by our conquering Lord. We rejoice in His advent—His birth among us, His life, death, and resurrection. God has given us the gift of His Word, "written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name" (John 20:31). In Baptism we are saved, adopted as God's sons and daughters. Our faith is nourished through Jesus' body and blood, received at His "blest Communion board."
Every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, who arose from death "on the first day of the week" (John 20:1a). Week after week, we sing the resurrection story until we enter the eternal paradise opened to us. Perhaps we cannot yet fully understand and sing the glory of the resurrection story, but we do try!
THE PRAYER: Risen and conquering Lord, I will praise Your holy Name, now and forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Thanks to Thee, O Christ, Victorious," which is number 548 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you think Matthias would have had any particular struggles to fit in with the other disciples?
2. Do you think there was a greater urgency to speak about Jesus in the first century than there is today? If so, why?
3. How would you explain what being resurrected means to someone?
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