Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
With this glorious phrase, Orthodox Christians greet one another for the forty days after Pascha.
Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen! Words like these had never been said before that magnificent day when the Myrrh Bearing Women arrived at the Tomb of our Lord, and found the Angel sitting there, proclaiming, “He is not here; He has risen!” No one could ever begin to believe that something like that would ever happen, in the first place.
The earth had shaken, the gates to Hades had been broken open and destroyed (as we experienced on Holy Saturday morning). All creation changed.
However, here is where we must pause and consider of whom we are discussing: Christ… the Theanthropos… Fully God/Fully man… God, Who became Man, and came into the world, so that man might become God, through grace.
At the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection, we heard the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John the Theologian. “In the beginning, there was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-17). God created everything. He was, is, and forever shall be capable of doing such wonders, as rising from the dead.
At the same time, it could be considered natural for the Myrrh Bearing Women to be startled. They had risen, early in the morning, planning to anoint their Teacher, with sweet-smelling spices, and along the way, they were wondering how they move the stone that closed off the Tomb. All of a sudden, when they arrived, not only did they see the Tomb open and empty, but an angel sitting on the stone that had sealed the grave, telling them not to worry, but to return to where the Apostles were hiding, and to tell them that the Master had arisen, just as He had told them, while He was physically with them.
How could this be possible? Again, let us not forget… we are talking about an act of God, in Whom all things are possible.
So, the Myrrh Bearing Women go to the Apostles, all of whom were in the same place, hiding, out of fear of the Jews, except for Thomas. Thomas was missing with the Myrrh Bearing Women arrived. When he learned of the Resurrection, he simply stated that unless he saw real evidence, he would not believe.
This, too, is a natural response. Just stop and think for a second, how many times were are told something, and yet, until we see real proof, or at least what we perceive to be real proof, we do not even begin to believe. At the same time, one must bear in mind that Thomas had been taught by Christ, Himself, to beware of false prophets. Therefore, there is a certain justification for his initial reaction.
Before anyone could say anything, Christ appears, and tells Thomas to touch Him, so that he might believe, to which Thomas proclaimed: “You are my Lord, and my God.” Thomas declared his belief, in public, as no one else had, up to that point.
The world began a new dimension, from the point of the Resurrection. All things were made new. Man had been redeemed. Death had been destroyed. Eternal life had been given to those in the tombs, and guaranteed to all those who believe in Him.
As we pass these next few weeks of the Pentecostarion, I encourage you to live the life of the Church. Be active in the Church. Proclaim the Good News.
Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!