Christians around the world will soon be celebrating Easter, which commemorates Christ Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. His resurrection changed human history. As a Christian Scientist, I feel deep gratitude and reverence for the spiritual strength, moral courage, forbearance, fidelity, and selfless love Jesus expressed. It offers such a compelling example to us all.
Jesus knew long before he was arrested what awaited him. He foretold more than once that he would be sentenced to death and then raised on “the third day” (see Matthew 16:21 and 20:19). Jesus must have prayed deeply throughout his ministry to prepare his thought for what lay ahead. His utter humility was on full display on the eve of the crucifixion, when he prayed to God, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
The writings of Mary Baker Eddy, a follower of Jesus and the discoverer of Christian Science, speak to Jesus’ state of thought as he administered the sacrament at the last supper with his disciples. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “With the great glory of an everlasting victory overshadowing him, he gave thanks...” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 33).
I love the idea that what overshadowed Jesus in this moment was not a sense of suffering, death, or failure, but the anticipation of “the great glory of an everlasting victory” over injustice, dishonor, sin, sickness, and death! The resurrection both illustrated and symbolized the destruction of evil. Jesus proved his oneness with divine Love, with God. His giving thanks to God at the last supper was an essential step toward victory.
Jesus’ sacred career serves as an example, not a substitute, for us all in finding salvation from evil. We have the ongoing opportunity to prove his words, “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). We can do this because, although Jesus is not here personally, the same Christ-spirit that governed Jesus, the same sense of God’s power and presence that enabled him to rise above evil, is here today. The Christ, Truth, that lifted Jesus in the resurrection saves and heals us now.
The initial evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead was the immense stone rolled from the mouth of the sepulcher where Jesus’ body had been placed (see Mark 16:4). Mrs. Eddy referred to this stone symbolically during an address at an Easter service. She said, “What is it that seems a stone between us and the resurrection morning?” Then she answered: “It is the belief of mind in matter. We can only come into the spiritual resurrection by quitting the old consciousness of Soul in sense” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 179).
Jesus’ resurrection proved that life is not dependent on matter. Each of us can prove this to whatever degree we have grasped this truth. Spiritual understanding lifts us into infinite possibilities of life based in divine Soul, Spirit, God, universal good. This lifting of thought is present-day resurrection.
A woman once asked me to pray with her regarding a physical condition that caused her to be concerned for her life. She and I gave thanks in our prayers that life is dependent on God, Spirit, alone. God, being the source of all existence, cannot be extinguished or even diminished. Therefore, she could not, as Spirit’s offspring, express less than the full reflection of Life.
I soon discovered this woman was feeling a lack of love in her life because her parents had passed on. We further reasoned together that God, divine Love, was her true and ever-present Father-Mother. Because we can never be separated from this divine Father-Mother, we can never truly be separated from parental guidance or from the Love that is God.
Day by day, as we prayed, the woman felt strengthened, both mentally and physically. One day, after a period of steady improvement, she reported with great joy that she was well: All the symptoms had ceased. And in the intervening years, the healing has proved complete.
The eternal Christ is here to lift each of us to the realization of the allness of Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, enabling us to see the healing relevance of Christ in our lives. Each of us can experience our own sense of the resurrection. And this is cause for great celebration on Easter and every day.