"He is Risen" Devotional & Song Story

As I prepare to record a new album, I am planning to publish devotionals and song stories for each of the songs from my last album, the Blood + the Breath. This post is the fourth in that series.

“Resurrection” by Jim LePage. Used with permission. 

“Resurrection” by Jim LePage. Used with permission. 

DEVOTIONAL

Scripture Reading:
John 20, Romans 3:23-26, 1 Corinthians 15, Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 Peter 1:3-5. 
Devotional by Jonathan Hicks, Pastor of Groups at Highland Park Pres in Dallas, TX

As Christians, we often take Jesus’ resurrection for granted. We have heard about it so many times that we repeat the words “Jesus is risen” mindlessly. They glide through our minds so often that maybe they don’t sink into our hearts.

Today our everyday language has become so full of hyperbole we are left scrambling for superlatives when we finally come across something worthy of them. Surely, we must start by saying the Resurrection is truly miraculous. Jesus was crucified. He died painfully and fully (this was not a Princess Bride case of being “mostly dead”). We can only imagine the despair, fear, and confusion that Jesus’ followers felt at his death. “How could he die?” “He was supposed to be the Messiah.” “Has God’s plan been thwarted?” The Church now celebrates the days when Jesus lay in the grave as “Good Friday” and “Holy Saturday,” but as the disciples lived them they were dark and hopeless days.

I once attended an Episcopal Holy Saturday service. For the first hour and a half of the service, the church was dimly lit and the mood was somber. We heard readings from the Old Testament about how God would deliver His people and send a Savior. And we waited (not always patiently). Finally, the moment came when the priest stood up and boomed, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” Even with no microphone, these words echoed forth. The congregation responded back, “The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!” Then, all the people in the congregation pulled out bells and rang them loudly exclaiming “Alleluia!” (meaning “Praise God”) as if they were hearing for the first time the news that Jesus has risen. The sudden noise of shouts and bells surprised my wife and I. It was a vivid reminder of the amazing truth that Jesus is indeed risen.

That whole service had been building in anticipation to the moment where we rejoiced at Jesus’ resurrection. Because if we do not remember the hopelessness of when Jesus lay in the grave, we will not understand the indescribable joy and hope of His resurrection. God’s plan was not thwarted, quite the opposite. Instead once and for all Jesus struck down sin and death, and secured new life for us.

The Resurrection is essential to what we believe as Christians. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ has not been raised, then we are still in our sins and our faith is futile. Jesus’ resurrection testifies that Jesus was God and that He was able to pay the infinite penalty that our sins deserved. It is also the testament to Jesus’ ultimate victory of death. And if Jesus has been raised, then all of us who are in Christ will one day also be raised with him. Death does not have the last word. Jesus has spoken and said that he is coming back and we will one day see him face to face. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

FOR REFLECTION:

  1. Why is the Resurrection of Christ essential to Gospel and therefore to the hope that we share as Christians?

  2. Read through John 19-20 as if you were there with the disciples. What would you have felt when at the news of Jesus’ death? What about when you heard (and then saw) that Jesus had risen from the grave? 


LYRICS

He is risen, He is risen,
And the stone is rolled away
He is risen, He is risen,
Proven by the empty grave

Touch his wounds, his hands, his sides,
And leave all your doubts behind
He is risen, He is risen, He is risen and alive!

Death is beaten, sin is vanquished,
God’s just wrath is satisfied
Christ is risen, Christ exalted,
Seated at the Father’s side

His body torn, our living way,
Our living hope, His body raised
He is risen, He is risen,
He is risen from the grave!

He is risen, He is risen,
This is all my hope and stay
He is risen, He is risen,
He is risen from the grave!

Jesus risen is returning,
We are longing for the day
When the King will bring the kingdom,
For this blessed hope we wait

The trumpet sounds and we are changed,
And we will see him face to face
Jesus risen, Jesus risen,
Jesus risen from the grave

The trumpet sounds and we are changed,
And death itself will pass away
We are risen, with him risen,
Fully risen from the grave
We are risen, with him risen,
We are risen from the grave

Written March 29, 2012
Words and music by Caroline Cobb


SONG STORY

I wrote this song when I was 7 months pregnant with Harrison. I was literally “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” when I nailed down the first version of this song, which I think is pretty hilarious. I also posted a video of myself singing this song - huge pregnant - on YouTube. Bad idea?

At this point, the Kickstarter campaign had finished up, and I was whittling down the songs that would go on the album. I knew that the album would tell the story of redemption, but I was missing a song about the resurrection (kind of a key event, right!?). I had written one other song about it, but didn’t feel like it was strong enough.

Most of the songs for this album come from a specific passage of scripture or a specific story, but for this one I had to bring in several passages. The resurrection has so many beautiful facets - it has affected us in so many ways - and I wanted to include as many as I could.

- Caroline

John 20, Romans 3:23-26, 1 Corinthians 15, Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 Peter 1:3-5