A decisive victory won

Archbishop Geoffrey Smith’s Easter message 2024

An essential part of Easter is Jesus resurrection. We know from the scriptures that early in the morning on the third day after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty, and his appearances to the disciples, both to the eleven, and according to St Paul, more than 500 at one time, plus his changed appearance and actions were convincing proof that Jesus was not only not dead, nor resuscitated but resurrected. He had come through death into a new life.

While the message of the resurrection is well known, its implications are very important for the whole world. The fact that Jesus beat death, that the power of death has been defeated is a matter of great significance. We still see and experience the forces of death but the decisive victory has been won and the result is seen and will be seen completely in the fullness of time.

The impacts of Jesus resurrection are individual and personal in that those of us who are joined to Christ through baptism share his death and resurrection. As Jesus has been raised through death so will we. Death has no more hold over us.

But the resurrection has global and cosmic consequences. Right now the whole creation is waiting for its redemption.

The remnants of the power of death are still being seen and experienced. There continues to be war and violence and injustice. Dictators unleash shocking suffering. There is poverty and Famine. Abuse, cruelty and care-lessness. An uneven distribution of the resources of the world means a few have too much and many have too little. Disease is experienced by young and old, and of course people still die.

The forces of death are still evident and this can lead to a heaviness, a hopelessness, a weariness as we navigate and experience this reality.

But the resurrection means that these manifestations of death will one day know their defeat. The future is not one of death but life and new life.

The impact of resurrection gives us hope in the midst of the death-ness we experience, and the motivation to spread resurrection life as much as we can. The resurrection is seriously cosmos changing and its gospel (gospel means surprisingly wonderful news) is worth embracing and sharing.

What we see now in the world is not what it will be. What we do now to spread resurrection life and push back the many manifestations of death as ambassadors of the risen one will make a difference for many people and in fact the whole creation.

I wish you a happy Easter, and I hope that the more we reflect on its implications the more glad we will be in our own hearts, and the more motivated we will be to help the implications of the resurrection to be experienced wherever we can.

Geoffrey Smith is Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia.