Herman Hoeksema was the first editor of the Standard Bearer. This Meditation is a reprint from the April 15, 1929 issue of the Standard Bearer.

Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Luke 24:34


The Lord is risen indeed!

This emphatic declaration of the fact of the resurrection, an expression of unbounded joy, was pressed from the hearts of the disciples on the evening of the resurrection day.

The two travelers who had departed for Emmaus that afternoon forgot their weariness and returned to Jerusalem to impart to the anxious and wondering disciples the joy that had been born in their own hearts when a stranger joined them in the way, wonderfully explaining the Scriptures to them, pointing out especially the necessity of the cross unto His entering into glory, and finally becoming known to them in the breaking of the bread as the very Lord they were discussing. But even before the two travelers could give expression to their joy, the eleven, but without Thomas, met them and poured out the great joy of their hearts in the exultant greeting: The Lord is risen indeed!

In this indeed they expressed that all their anxiety and wonderment, all their astonishment and worry, had been swallowed up in the certainty of the resurrection.

Risen indeed! The words point back to a day of perplexity. All day, from earliest morning, their hearts had been filled with an anxious perhaps. Now the possibility had become reality, the doubt had been changed into certainty. The Lord is risen indeed. There is no more room for argument, for anxious discussing, for He hath appeared to Simon! What a blessed termination of a day full of anxious doubts! For such it had been, indeed.

From early dawn Jerusalem had been filled with strange rumors. The watch had left the sepulcher of the Lord. Rumor had it that they had fled because of strange happenings at the grave early that morning, the appearance of an angel, an earthquake. Then the rumor had also been contradicted, and the story was being spread that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus while the soldiers slept!

Women had returned from the sepulcher, whither they had gone very early in the morning to perform a last service of love upon the blessed body of their Lord, and had reported strange things. They had spoken of an empty grave, of the appearance of angels who had assured them that the Lord had risen from the dead. To the disciples their report had seemed an idle tale. For “Him they saw not,” and as long as He had not been seen, the empty grave could only be regarded as circumstantial evidence.

All these matters the disciples had discussed as the eleven were gathered together with others throughout that day. A conclusion was not reached. Even in the late afternoon their hearts were as perplexed as ever.

As two of them left for Emmaus they still continued the discussion without reaching a satisfactory solution of the problem that occupied their minds. For a problem it was to them. Jesus of Nazareth was a prophet of God, mighty in word and deed. Yet, the rulers of the people had condemned Him to death and crucified Him. This it was that they failed to grasp. As yet, they could not see the logic of the cross. They failed to see the necessity of the cross. They had fixed their hope on Him as the One who should redeem Israel. But why should the Redeemer of Israel have to be condemned and die so shamefully? They turned the problem over and over. They considered it from every possible angle. They found no solution. Then, again, they discussed the fact that it was now the third day, the fact of the empty grave, the report of the women, substantiated by some of the disciples, the vision of the angels which said that He was alive. But Him they had not seen.

Then the Stranger had joined them and had inquired about the subject of their anxious discussion. They had unburdened their hearts and mind before Him, though they expressed their amazement that one could be such a lone stranger in Jerusalem that he did not know the only subject of interest. He had rebuked them, exposed their unbelief, expounded to them the Scriptures, shown them the necessity of the cross of Christ and the folly of their reasoning. As He opened the Scriptures and talked with them in the way, their hearts were set a-burning. They constrained Him to abide with them as they reached the place of their destination, urging that the day was far spent. And He had allowed Himself to be persuaded.

Then it happened. For He brake the bread as they sat at meat, He blessed it and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened. They saw Him! And as they were looking on Him with a mixture of amazement and joy, He vanished out of their sight. It was but for a moment. But they had seen Him. There could be no doubt, for their burning hearts corroborated the vision of their eyes.

Though the day is far spent and they are weary, they must return and impart their joy to the disciples.

But also among the disciples there is joy. The shadows of doubt have been lifted from their hearts and minds. The Lord hath appeared to Simon. As the weary sojourners from Emmaus approach the place where the disciples are gathered together, they are met with the exultant shout:

The Lord is risen indeed!

He is risen!

What a joy is expressed in that one brief sentence!

Joy for the disciples even on that night of the resurrection-day, though they did not fully grasp the implication of their own testimony.

Joy that would expand and grow and become fuller, richer, deeper when the Spirit of the risen and glorified Lord would be poured forth into their hearts and would reveal unto them in ever greater abundance of spiritual riches the profound significance of the resurrection of the Lord.

They would then understand that His resurrection was not a return to them, but an issuing forth into a glory hitherto unknown. In the likeness of sinful flesh He had come into the world, like unto His brethren in all things, sin excepted. With a body like unto the body of His brethren He had descended into the grave, weak and mortal, corruptible and inglorious, of the dust and earthy. In the form of a servant He had humbled Himself even unto death and the agonies of hell. But in that form of a servant, in that likeness of sinful flesh, He did not return when He arose from the dead. Though, indeed, His resurrection-body was no new creation; though in it He could show the marks of identity with the body that was nailed to the cross, yet it was no more weak but strong, no more corruptible but incorruptible, no more in dishonor but in glory, no more mortal but immortal. The resurrection of the Lord is the swallowing up of death! The Lord is risen indeed!

But even so all is not said.

For they would learn, as they were taught by the Spirit who leadeth into all the truth, that the resurrection of the Lord was not even a return to the state of man as he was before he fell in paradise the first. The risen Lord is not simply like unto the unfallen Adam. For the first man, Adam, was of the earth earthy, but the second man is the Lord from heaven. Even as the work of redemption does not aim at simple restoration of what was marred and destroyed by sin in Paradise, so the resurrection of the Lord is not a return to man’s original state. It is an advance to higher glory than Adam ever possessed.

Still more may be said. For the glory of the risen Lord is not to be compared even to the glory the first man Adam might have reached had he never listened to the temptation of the murderer from the beginning. Where would be the justification for the deep and awful way of sin and suffering God chose to lead His children to everlasting glory, the way of the cross of the Son of God, if the same glory might have been reached without all that darkness? The resurrection of the Lord transcends in glory all that ever was or might have been had the Lord from heaven not come down to unite Himself with the flesh and blood of the children.

The glory of the risen Lord is not earthy but heavenly. He arises from the grave clothed with the glory of the image of the heavenly, in body and soul, the image of the Son, reflected in the human nature in highest possible degree of perfection.

The Lord is risen indeed. He did not return, but went on into the glory of God’s perfected work.

What unspeakable joy!

The Lord is risen!

Now the disciples rejoiced, though they did not fathom the depth of their own joy.

Soon they would understand, not only the glory of His resurrection itself, but also the power of that resurrection in its significance for them, for all the brethren, for the church of God!

Then their joy would be full, as they would realize that His resurrection is their own. They would be taught by the Spirit of the risen Lord to see the ground and the reason of His resurrection and to rejoice in their justification through His blood; they would be given to state the beginning of that resurrection in their own hearts and to rejoice in heavenly things; they would know the power of that resurrection as it urged them to seek the things that are above, not the things that are below; and in that power they would look forward to the realization of the blessed hope in His day.

All, all would then be plain before the eye of their faith.

In the light of His resurrection they would then glance back at the cross and behold it in all the power of its saving grace. Even now they did not fully understand that accursed tree and its necessity. But then they would understand. For, oh, it was the Lord, the Christ, the Head of His brethren that was now risen. He had risen from the death He had voluntarily suffered in their stead and on their behalf. They, these brethren, had sinned and violated God’s covenant. Children of wrath and condemnation they were by nature, under the punishment of death. Forfeited, had they, every right to life and favor with God. But from before the foundation of the world, God had anointed the Lord Christ to be Head over His brethren, that He might take their place, that their guilt might be reckoned unto Him, that He might bear their sin in His own body on the tree.

Thus He had come according to that counsel of the Most High. Thus, as the Head of His brethren, inseparably connected with them, He had assumed the form of a servant, though He was Lord of all. And thus, with the sin and death of His brethren upon Him, He had descended into the lowest parts of the earth, struggling and battling with the powers of darkness to overcome them before the face of God and in the way of His justice and truth.

Into the deepest depth of that death had He descended, till He had announced: It is finished!

From that death He arose, He ascended out of the depth of hell into the glory of His resurrection, with the image of the heavenly upon Him and the glory of eternal life radiating from Him.

The Lord is risen! So the disciples now shouted in boundless joy.

Soon they would add: The Lord was raised! Raised by the Father in answer to the announcement from Golgotha: It is finished!

And that answer could come only if He had actually borne away our sin and satisfied the justice of the Most High!

He is risen! He was raised! Raised by the power of the Father! Raised for our justification!

We are justified and have peace with God!

For the Lord is risen!

Risen indeed!

The disciples now attested the fact, for they had seen Him! He had appeared to the sojourners of Emmaus. He had appeared unto Simon!

Greatly did they rejoice in the mere realization that He whom they loved had risen. The certainty of the thing they had seen now filled their hearts with exultation. For somehow the fact of the cross had spelled defeat to them and victory to the enemy; the resurrection announced the judgment of the world, their own and their Lord’s victory.

But presently they would see Him no more, yet believe in Him whom they saw not. For the power of His resurrection they would taste in their own hearts and lives. The consciousness of that power of the risen Lord in their hearts would unite itself with their present attestation of the fact of the resurrection and corroborate it.

For the risen Lord would ascend unto His Father and their Father.

He would pass through the highest heavens as the victor over death and hell, leading captivity captive, enriched with heavenly gifts of grace and eternal life to bestow upon His brethren. He would bestow on them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and through that Spirit He would return again unto them, to dwell with them, in them, and in the entire church which the Father had given Him. And living in them He would realize in their hearts His own resurrection-life, the life that is from above, the new and heavenly life, thus making them spiritual citizens of the New Jerusalem.

Then they would taste the power of that resurrection, the fact of which they now attested, because they saw Him and He had appeared unto Simon. Instead of merely declaring the fact of the resurrection because their eyes had beheld the Risen One, they would witness of the power of the resurrection because their souls had tasted it and the Lord had risen in their own hearts.

The Lord is risen indeed! For He has arisen in our hearts!

Thus may the church of the living Lord victoriously shout with the disciples, accepting their testimony as to the fact, partaking with them of the power of the resurrection-life in their own hearts.

And so our Easter joy becomes an overflowing cup. For the resurrection of the Lord quickens within us a lively hope.

A little while we must carry the joy of the resurrection in the midst of a world full of imperfection and suffering, a world that knows neither Him nor the power of His resurrection. Strangers and pilgrims we are called to be.

But we are born again, through the resurrection of the Lord, unto a lively hope.

Forward we look to the full realization of what took place when the Lord arose from death and the grave, to the day when the salvation that is about to be revealed in the last time shall be perfected.

For it we long, for we carry the beginning of it in our very soul.

Of its realization we are sure, because the Lord is risen!

Oh, blessed joy!

Risen indeed!