The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. — 1 Corinthians 15:56-58
The familiar Easter hymn, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” proclaims the central belief of the Christian faith. Without this truth we would have only a history of a man named Jesus. Charles Wesley wrote these words to tell the Good News: Jesus died, but was raised from the dead and remains alive forever.
Wesley’s life had been immersed in this knowledge. He was born into a Christian home in Epworth, England, in1707. His mother, Susannah Wesley, was his teacher who used the Bible as the basic teaching to all of her nineteen children. Charles attended Oxford university with his brother, John, and they were ordained as priests in the Church of England.
Both brothers felt called by God to be missionaries in America. After arriving in America, they became restless and unfulfilled. The only alternative to their restlessness was returning to their home in England.
Several months after their arrival, both brothers had personal revivals in their own souls. For Charles it was on Sunday, May 21, 1738. He was touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit and he wrote this extraordinary event in his journal:
“At nine my brother and some friends came and sang a hymn to the Holy Ghost. In about half an hour they went. I betook myself to prayer. Yet still the Spirit of God strove with my own and the evil spirit till by degrees He chased away the darkness of my unbelief. I found myself convinced and fell into intercession.”
In 1739 to commemorate his powerful Spirit re-birth, he wrote, “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today.” Until his death, in 1788, Charles Wesley composed over six thousand hymns. Each one proclaims the simple but profound truth that Jesus is “the way the truth and the life…” (John 14:6).
Lord Jesus, we walk through this holy week in remembrance of the steps you took toward the horrors of crucifixion. We also remember the times our lives have led us through footsteps of grief. But because we follow You, our steps toward the healing of broken hearts and broken bodies set us free. Praise you Risen Lord, for coming to each one who opens the heart to invite You in to live for eternity. We pray in your holy and powerful name. Amen.