Robert Jeffress - Jesus, The Passion And The Promise
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome, again, to Pathway to Victory. In just a few short weeks we'll be celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. But on today's program, our focus will shift from the birth of Christ to his death and resurrection. You see, without Easter, we have no reason to celebrate Christmas. My message is titled "Jesus, the passion and the promise" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
This time of the year there's always an interest in our culture in spiritual matters, especially about the death and the resurrection of Jesus. That's always a topic for discussion at Easter time, but it's been my perception that interest is especially acute this year. There seems to be a spiritual hunger in our country right now. But whatever the reason, I believe we, as Christians, need to take advantage in the best sense of the word of people's interest. 1 Peter 3 says, "We need to be ready to give an answer to anyone who ask us for the hope that is within us".
Why is the death of Jesus important? Why is the resurrection important? Wednesday night I had the chance to be with my Jewish friend at Fox News, and he has become a great friend, Alan Colmes. And he asked me on his radio program, he said, "Pastor, as a Christian, which event is more important to you, the death of Jesus or the resurrection of Jesus"? Now that's a great question. You know, there are evangelicals today who place a lot of emphasis on the resurrection, but don't touch that much on the crucifixion on good Friday. One evangelical interviewed by CNN said, "You know I am tired of racing over the events of the passion week to get to the resurrection. This passion week, I'm gonna concentrate on the crucifixion".
Now I understand that sentiment. Sometimes we race right past the death of Jesus to talk about the resurrection of Jesus. And the other faith traditions that emphasize the death of Jesus and don't talk that much about the resurrection. The fact is that's an equally lethal mistake. The death of Jesus means nothing apart from the resurrection. I mean, the fact is, the crucifixion was not unique. Tens of thousands of people were crucified by the Romans in Jesus' name. In fact, I think we could take a little test here today, I bet there's not anybody here who could name one other victim of crucifixion, other than Jesus and perhaps the apostle Peter.
If there are tens of thousands of people crucified, why is the only one we know that Galilean Rabbi who lived 2.000 years ago? It's because he was the only one who was delivered from the jaws of death by the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus' resurrection is important, it was the validating factor that he was truly the Son of God. And so, today, we're not gonna make the mistake of emphasizing one over the other, in the few minutes that we have this morning, and aren't you encouraged by the fact that I said the few minutes that we have together this morning? In the few minutes that we have together this morning, what I wanna do is talk about the reason that both the passion, the death of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ, who's promise are equally important, not just to theology, but your life and to my life.
If you have your Bibles this morning, I want you to turn to 1 Corinthians 15. You know, when you look throughout the Bible, the fact is both the resurrection and the death of Christ were treated as a part of the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul says, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures". Do you see it? The Gospel is both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let's talk first about the passion of Christ, that is his death. Whenever you hear somebody say, "Well there's no evidence that there was a man named Jesus who actually was born and taught and died. The only evidence for that is in the Bible", you know you are talking to somebody who doesn't know history. For the fact is, it is a historical fact that there was a man named Jesus, who was crucified around 33 AD, who was crucified because he claimed to be the Son of God. In Jesus' day, you didn't get crucified for going around telling people to turn the other cheek, okay? You got crucified for telling people that you were the Son of God.
To the Romans that was sedition, treason, to the Jews it was blasphemy. So there's no doubt that, historically, that event took place. One of the confirming evidence is outside of the Bible, came from the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus. Cornelius Tacitus was the most respected Roman historian of all time. He lived from 55 AD to 120 AD. He lived during the reign of six different Roman emperors. And in his landmark work, "The Annals", he told the story about Nero's destruction of Rome by fire and how Nero tried to shift the blame from himself to the Christians who were living during that time.
Listen to what Tacitus, the historian, said, "Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt and punished with the most exquisite tortures the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius. But the pernicious superstition repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also".
What was that pernicious superstition Tacitus talked about? It was the news that he had been raised from the dead. And it didn't matter how much the Romans tried to squelch it, that truth spread and spread quicker and farther than any fire that Nero had every set before. And what is interesting is 200 years after Tacitus wrote these words, within just 200 years, the Christian movement had grown so much, that it became the dominant religion of the entire Roman Empire. Now how do you explain that? Starting with just a handful of people, that movement exploding? It's because it was rooted in historical fact.
No, there's no question that, historically, that Jesus died. The real question is the question that Time Magazine posed a few years ago on it's cover, that is "Why did Jesus die"? What was the purpose of Jesus' death? Now let's get something straight this morning, Jesus' life was not taken from him. Jesus' death was not the case of some bad men doing a really bad thing and killing Jesus. Jesus, voluntarily, gave up his life. In John chapter 10:17-18, Jesus made this prophecy, he said, "For this reason the Father loves me, because I laid down my life that I may take it up again". There's the resurrection. Verse 18, no one has taken it away from me. But I lay it down on my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down and I have the authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father. Jesus willingly gave his life for us.
Peter said the same thing a few weeks after the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus. Remember when he stood before the Jews, thousands of them, on the southern steps of the temple, preaching that message of Pentecost? Listen to what Jesus said to that same crowd, who, just a few weeks earlier, had yelled to Pilate, "Crucify him, crucify him", this is what Peter said. For this man, Jesus, was delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of Godless men and you put him to death. He said to that crowd, "Yes, you killed Jesus". But it was all according to the predetermined plan of God. God is the one who delivered up his own Son for death.
Why did God do such a thing? Because it was the only way to provide an atonement, a covering for our sin. We've talked about that in recent weeks. We all need our sin covered and washed away. Adam and Eve tried to do it, with their fig leaves that didn't quite fit. Make themselves a covering, it didn't cover their sin. The Jews tried it through those sacrifices, but animal sacrifices couldn't cleanse people's sin. All of that pointed to the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, who would one day forever cover our sin. That is what the atonement means. It means Jesus covered our sin.
Now I'm looking down here at Dr. Brian and Dr. Draper, you guys know, in seminary we're taught different theories of the atonement. What is it that Jesus' atonement accomplished for me? There have been, throughout history, different theories of the atonement. There's the exemplary theory, that is Christ's death is an example to us of how to suffer unjustly. Some people take up the ransom theory, and that is that Christ's death was a ransom paid to satan to reclaim our soul. Some people take the substitutionary theory, that Christ actually died in our place and took the punishment from God that we deserved. Which one is the correct one?
Well, the fact is, the atonement is so complex, it's almost like looking at a diamond. Just as there are many facets of a diamond, there are many facets of the atonement. The fact is there are some truth, some truth, in all of those theories. For example, Jesus Christ's death was an example to us for unjust suffering. Joanne Carol wrote a book called "Power in the Blood". And she talked about the fact that one day she was sitting in seminary class, listening to the professor talk about different theories of the atonement. Immediately her mind went back to an experience she had as a little girl. As she looked at the blood-soaked mattress on which her mother had been brutally murdered by her mother's boyfriend. She said she saw in her mind that blood-soaked mattress, she saw on the wall the hand-print, the bloody hand-print of her mother. And she thought immediately she had to be able to connect her story and her mother's story to Jesus' story.
And she said, "The fact is Jesus truly identifies with us in our suffering and provides us with an example of how to live our lives". Some conservatives would just write that off as liberal tribe, "Oh, that's not what it means at all". There is a sense in which Jesus' death is an example for us in how to deal with suffering. The apostle Peter said that in 1 Peter 2:21 and 23. For you had been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps. And although he was being reviled, he didn't revile in return. While suffering, he uttered no threats but kept entrusting himself to the one who judges righteously.
There are some of you who are going through suffering in your life right now. You need to understand, there is no heart-ache you're experiencing right now, especially if it's unjust, that Jesus doesn't understand. That's why we have a sympathetic high priest, Jesus, to whom we can talk to in the midst of our suffering. He understands it. If you're suffering unjustly, remember, God eventually will settle the score. That's what Jesus said. Jesus said, "I'm gonna entrust myself to the one who judges rightly".
Yes, Jesus' death is an example of suffering, but that's not all it is. Fact is there are many people who are great examples of what it means to suffer unjustly. Jesus' death was also, secondly, a payment for our sin. Jesus died in order to pay the payment that must be paid for our sin, to satisfy God's requirement. God said the soul that sins shall surely die. God has a payment that must be paid for our sin. Sin creates a debt, an obligation to God. Somebody has to pay. We can either spend eternity in hell, paying for that debt ourself, or we can allow Jesus to make the payment for us.
Now for some people, that is a repulsive idea. The idea that God demands a sacrifice for sin, that God is a blood-thirsty God and he requires that his own Son die for our sin, they think that's a divine child abuse for God to be that way. But God is a holy God. He has to demand payment for sin. That's what a just God is all about. Some people are offended by that, I think, because deep down they don't wanna think that their sin is so serious, that it demands a payment from God. They don't wanna think that their sin is just that big of a deal. But it is. God cannot overlook the sin in your life, or my life, he is a holy God. And that's why Nahum 1:3, says, "God cannot allow the guilty to go unpunished". A righteous God must be paid for sin. We either pay it, or we can allow Christ to pay that price for us. And that's why 1 John 2:2 says, talking about Christ, he is the propitiation, and that's a $5 word. That word simply means he is the satisfaction for our sin. And not only for our sin, but the sin of the entire world.
Why did Christ die? Yes, he's an example of suffering, yes, he is a payment for our sin, thirdly, his death provides a redemption from spiritual slavery. Remember we said that word redeem, there are two Greek words for it. One word is exagorazo, exagorazo. It means out of the marketplace. In Paul's day, if you wanted to buy a slave, you'd go down and you see that man or woman or boy or girl standing up on the slave auction block and if you wanted them for yours, you would pay the price. And once you paid the price, you would exagorazo them, you would take them out of the marketplace and home to do whatever you wanted to do with them.
And the Bible says all of us, apart from God, are in the marketplace of sin. We are satan's slave, and he has no good intentions for any one of us. But God, because he loved you and me so much, he looked down on our situation and he redeemed us. He paid the price, not to satan, but he paid the price for our redemption. And he has delivered us out of the marketplace of sin and death into the marvelous kingdom of his own light. That's what Paul said in Colossians 1:13 and 14. For he delivered us from the domain of darkness and he transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.
Robert Schuller was the former pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California. Now, Robert Schuller's theology was questionable at times, but he had some great stories. Now I remember one of his stories he told years ago. It was about a little boy who had made a miniature sailboat. He spent months working on that sailboat and he was finished he was so excited, he decided to take it down to the local pond to try it out. So he put his sailboat in the pond, he watched it float around, and suddenly, a gust of wind filled the sails, and took that sailboat far away from the little boy, out of his sight. The boy was heartbroken, he had lost that boat he had spent months making.
A few days later, that little boy was walking down the street. He walked by the local toy store and he looked in the plate-glass window, and to his surprise, he saw his red sailboat. And he was so excited he went into the store and said, "Mister, mister, that's my boat, can I please have it"? The owner of the store said, "Well, I'd love to give it to you, but I purchased that from somebody else, you'll have to buy it". And that little boy reached into his pocket, he pulled out a sweaty wad of dollar bills, he gave it to the store owner. He purchased the boat. He took that boat and went outside walking down the street and clutching it close to his chest. And he said to that sailboat, "You're mine twice now". Once because I made you, and now because I bought you.
That's how God looks at you. That's how God looks at me. If we're Christians, we belong to God twice. God is the one how made us. He's the one who created us. But the wind of sin and rebellion filled our lives and took us far away from God. God had every right to give up on us. He every right to allow us to spend eternity separated from him. But the Bible says because of the great love with which he loved us, he sent Christ to make the ultimate payment for our sins. It was the blood of his own Son by which he redeemed us and by trusting in Christ, who is our Savior, we become God's again. We belong to God twice, if we're a Christian. Once because he made us, but secondly because he bought us. He purchased us with the blood of his son.
What did the death of Christ accomplish for us? Certainly it was an example of suffering, it was a payment for sins, it was a redemption from spiritual slavery. But equally important to Christ's death, is his resurrection. You see, unlike those today, who had these near-death experiences, where they get to the precipice of death, they see something, but then they're brought back from the edge to tell us what they saw. Jesus, he didn't have a near-death experience, he had a death experience. He actually died, but God reached down and delivered him from the grave. Why is that important to us?
Lemme just mention four things about Christ's resurrection that make it a pivotal event for each one of us. First of all, Christ's resurrection was prophesied by Christ, himself. This story of the resurrection, as liberals claim, was not some story that was added on by his followers decades later to make a good story better, no, it was a part of what Christ taught. The great theologian, John Scott noted that every time Jesus talked about his death, he also talked about his resurrection. Just jot down these references. Matthew 16:21, from that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed and raised on the third day. Or Matthew 17:22 and 23, now while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The son of man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him and he will be raised up on the third day". And they were deeply grieved. Or John 2:19, Jesus answered and said to them, "destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up".
Do you see that, every time he talked about his death, he also talked about his coming resurrection. That resurrection would be the signal proof that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. A few weeks ago when we were in Jerusalem, we went to the empty tomb. Oh, and by the way, it's still empty, did you know that? After 2.000 years nobody in there. But outside the temple, but outside that empty tomb there is a scripture plaque, and I asked carrilyn to take a picture of it, 'cause I wanted to show it to you today. Outside the empty tomb is this plaque. It's a quotation of Romans 1:4, see it up there? Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead. That was the proof that Jesus was who he said he was. This resurrection was prophesied by Christ. Secondly, it was proclaimed by the apostles. Nor was the resurrection just simply some post-script to the apostles' teaching. It was a part of their core teaching, that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
Go back to Peter for just a moment. Remember I talked about his sermon at Pentecost, preached just weeks after the death of Christ? Here was Peter on the southern steps of the temple, preaching to that group, that mob who had crucified Christ earlier. Listen to what he said, not just about the death but the resurrection. We read a portion of it a few minutes ago from the scripture. Acts 2, beginning with verse 23. "This man, Jesus, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of Godless men and you put him to death. And God raised him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for him to be held in its power. This Jesus God raised by again, to which we were all witness".
Now, think about this. If the resurrection were simply fiction, if Jesus was still in that tomb, that crowd would have known about it. If the resurrection were simply fiction, they would have laughed Peter off those steps when he claimed the resurrection, but they didn't do it. Instead, the Bible says they were cut to the core of their heart by that message, and they said to Peter, "What must we do to be saved"? And Peter said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and you will be saved", and thousands of Jews responded that day to the Gospel message.
Why did they respond to it? Because the tomb was empty already. What I'm saying to you is, this whole message of the resurrection wasn't added on years later. It was a part of the beginning teaching of the apostles. You know, one of the greatest, to me, single evidences of the truth of the resurrection is that miraculous metamorphosis that took place in the hearts of the disciples, and over just a three-day period. Remember in the days leading up to the crucifixion, they almost all deserted Jesus, every one of them. They were trying to save their own skin. Remember Peter. He denied Christ not once, twice, three times, in order to save his hide. And then suddenly, overnight, they were transformed from cowering followers of Christ to courageous people who were willing to die for what they believed, in the resurrection. What changed them? What changed them was they saw the resurrected Jesus. That's what changed them.
I remember years ago, watching a special on the life of Jesus. It was narrated by the late Peter Jennings from ABC News. Remember Peter Jennings? He was talking to a liberal theologian, who denied the truth of the resurrection. She didn't believe in a literal resurrection, and so Peter Jennings asked her the very pertinent question. He said, "Well, how do you explain this change that occurred in the disciples almost overnight"? I almost laughed out loud. She said "Well, they obviously saw something". They saw something. They saw the resurrected Christ, and from that point on, it was the beginning, it was the core of their message.
The resurrection was prophesied by Christ, it was proclaimed by the apostles. Thirdly, it was proved by history. It was proved by history. Have you ever heard people say, "Well, it's just circumstantial evidence". Every lawyer here knows that circumstantial evidence can be pretty powerful and send somebody to the electric chair when it's all put together. Yes, it's circumstantial evidence, but when you put it all together, you come away with the truth that Christ was raised from the dead.
In other Easter messages, I talked about the historical evidence for the resurrection. For example, just consider the empty tomb. Jesus said he would be raised from the dead, his disciples proclaimed it, and guess what? It is a historical fact that the body of Jesus has not been found in 2000 years. That's a historical fact. Somebody said to me last week, "Well, I think it's kind of like this Malaysian Jet liner. You know, they lost that, too. Maybe they just lost the body of Jesus, that's what happened, it was like the Malaysian Jet liner". But you mark it down, this is the word of Robert. They're gonna find that jet liner. It may be this month, it may be this year, it might be this decade, but they're going to find that jet liner, and CNN ain't gonna know what to talk about after that. It's gonna be found, but they are never going to find the body of Jesus because it is not there. He has risen from the dead. I mean, how do you explain it?
"Oh", people say, "Well, somebody stole the body". Really, somebody stole the body? Who stole it? "Well, the Romans and Jews. Somebody stole it". The Romans and Jews? They wanted to keep that body in the grave. They had a whole Roman guard unit assigned to protect that grave. They didn't want the rumor getting started that he had been raised from the dead, as he promised. They had no motive to do it. They were on a manhunt to find the body, so they could stop the Christian movement in its tracks. Wasn't the Roman officials. It certainly wasn't the Jewish officials.
Somebody said, "Well, the disciples stole it". The disciples? They had abandoned Jesus. They were afraid for their own lives. You're telling me these cowardly disciples suddenly got the courage to overtake a 16-unit Roman guard unit, and kill them and take the body of Jesus with them? Are you telling me they would die for a lie like that?
Somebody said, "Well, people, religious extremists, they die for a lie all the time. Look at those crazy Muslims and what they do. I mean, they're willing to die, blow themselves up for a lie". That's true, but they believe it's the truth. You see, that's the difference. They believe what they're teaching. They think they're gonna see Allah and all those 72 virgins or whatever up there. They believe that, even though it's a lie. People die for a lie all the time. No one ever dies for something they know is a lie. You just don't do that. That's not human nature. But these apostles were willing to die because they knew the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or think about this, think about how early the story of the resurrection became a part of the Christian doctrine. It was a part of the doctrine from the beginning.
You know, historians tell us, and this is so interesting. Historians tell us that it takes anywhere from 80 to 100 years for a legend to corrupt historical truth. It takes about 80 to 100 years to corrupt fact with fiction. And the reason is obvious. You've gotta wait 'til a couple of generations die off before you can start telling a fiction about a historical event. Let me illustrate that for you. Suppose that immediately after the death of Elvis Presley, in 1977, a group of Elvis's followers got together and said, "You know, we want the king's memory to live on. We want his music to live on. So we're going to start the rumor that Elvis Presley did not actually die, and that he actually is alive and he's appearing in Wal-Marts regularly. And we're gonna call our new religion Presleyanity, and Presleynity is built on the lie that Elvis Presley has risen from the dead".
How far do you think that movement would go? I mean, the only people who believed that were the people who buy the supermarket tabloids for a few months afterwards. Today, nobody's even talking about Elvis Presley. Imagine today, 40 years later, if somebody tried to start that movement. I mean, there's some of you watching, you don't even know who I'm talking about when I talk about Elvis Presley. Who? I mean, interest in Elvis hasn't increased in the last 40 years. It has diminished. You couldn't get that movement off the ground today if you tried, and nobody would die for a lie like that. Compare that to the Christian message. Immediately, the truth began being spread that he had risen from the dead. 500 witnesses saw him, and the movement grew and grew and grew and grew, and 2000 years later it is still growing. People are still dying because it is true that Christ has been raised from the dead. It has been proved by history.
You may not know the name sir Lionel Luckhoo, but according to the Guinness Book of World Records, he is the most successful trial attorney in history. He won 245 acquittals in murder cases. Most successful attorney in history, according to Guinness. He became a Christian, and so he decided that he would take the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and compare it to the strictest standards of legal evidence to see if the facts held up. Before he died, I want you to listen to what this gifted attorney said. He said, "I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming, that it compels acceptance by proof, which leaves absolutely no room for doubt".
Jesus Christ is alive. It was prophesied by Christ, it was proclaimed by the apostles, it's been proved by history, and finally, it has been promised to believers. The late speaker of the house Tip O'Neill used to have a saying. He said, "All politics are local". And by that, he meant, the only thing people really care about about politics is how it affects their lives. You know, I'd say the same thing about theology. All theology's local. The only theology you care about and, honestly, I care about is theology that affects my life. So the question is, what difference does the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually make to me? It answers that all-important question that Job asked. If a man dies, will he live again? When I close my eyes for the last time here on earth, do I just slip into nothingness, or is there something on the other side of the grave?
The resurrection of Jesus answers that, because you see, the resurrection of Jesus was not just an isolated event. The Bible says his resurrection was a prototype of the resurrection of all who trust in him for salvation. Jesus promised the resurrection he experienced, you and I would experience one day. If we place our faith in him, death will not have the final word, and you find that promise to Jesus-followers all throughout scripture. He made an absolutely bedrock guaranteed promise that those who trusted in him would have eternal life.
I think of John chapter 5:24. It's my dad's favorite verse of all time. He had it put on his gravestone. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and shall not experience death, but has passed from judgment unto life". Or John 6:40 Jesus said, "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him has eternal life, and I myself shall raise him up on the last day". Or John 11:25, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live again". Because Christ lives, one day, those of us who trust in him will live again as well. That's what the resurrection means to us.
Several weeks ago, our nation acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the civil rights legislation that was signed into law by then-president Lyndon Johnson. What many people don't realize or remember was, even after that legislation was signed, the movement, the civil rights movement was very fragile. African-Americans did not receive their rights overnight. That movement was very fragile a few years later, in 1968, when the leader of that movement, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Many people feared that his death and the riots that would ensue afterwards would completely undo the civil rights movement, and that's why Dr. King's funeral was such a critical and pivotal event.
That day, there were a host of people who had been asked to give eulogies. One of those men was a man named James Bevel, and when his turn came, the heavy-set Bevel mounted the podium, and his voice began to build like a thunderstorm in the distance, and this is what he said. "You have heard that our leader is dead. That leader, that rumor is false. Our leader is not dead. Our leader was not Martin Luther King". He paused. He allowed his words to penetrate his audience. The words bruised the audience, hurt them. A murmur started in the crowd. And who is this man? What is he saying? Why is he adding insult to injury? What does he mean Martin Luther King is not our leader? Bevel continued.
"Our leader is the one who led Moses out of Egypt. That's the man, that's the man", somebody in the crowd shouted. "Our leader is the one who went down with Daniel into the lion's den". "Say amen, say amen", somebody else shouted. "Our leader is the one who walked out of the grave on that Easter Sunday morning. Our leader neither slumbers nor sleeps. Our leader cannot be put in jail. Our leader is still on the job. Our leader is not dead". Ladies and gentlemen, that is the Easter message. Our leader is not dead. He lives, he lives. Christ Jesus lives today, and because he lives, one day, so shall we. God be praised for a risen Savior.