Christ is King.

Christ’s resurrection shatters our most dominant political narratives.

By Isaac Willour

 

Every year, deep in Jerusalem’s Old City, worshippers gather at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to witness one of the most prominent alleged miracles in the history of the Christian faith. According to tradition, the city’s Patriarch invokes a prayer and holds aloft a lamp of olive oil while standing inside the limestone tomb at the center of the church, considered by many to be the true burial chamber of Christ. As the congregation chants kyrie eleison, fire miraculously descends on the lamp, then used to light up to 33 candles in keeping with the age of Christ at His death. 

 

The Miracle of the Holy Fire is attested for over a thousand years, with records reaching back to the 1100s. Authorities have investigated the tradition for hoaxes, and found nothing. Yet, the ceremony remains one of the widest-televised events connected with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet, for our purpose, the Miracle’s authenticity doesn’t matter—it’s a human tradition, in all likelihood. Its cultural prominence, particularly within modern war-torn Jerusalem, represents something far deeper. At the darkest moments, the flame of hope is sparked by a truth not of this world—and ignited in the hearts of the people bold enough to believe it.

 

The World

Our dominant political narratives do not care to reflect or even respect this truth. Our dominant political narratives tell us that truth is only realized and championed by virtue-signaling social activism, strongmen politicians, or, paradoxically, by rejecting the meaning of truth altogether. The Miracle of the Holy Fire, fittingly, takes place on the darkest day of Holy Week. It’s Holy Saturday, when Christ lies in the tomb and his followers flee before the seemingly triumphant forces of darkness. We now live in a world that perpetually feels that way. We can easily envision the plight of the disciples, fleeing the machinations of an evil empire, even as prominent religious institutions appear either impotent or complicit in the death of hope. 

 

The Resurrection breaks that.

 

The Empty Tomb

Jerusalem isn’t special because it belongs to Israel or because of any geopolitical significance. The limestone tomb that contains the Miracle of the Holy Fire (if it’s real) isn’t special on its own. All of these things matter because they played host to the greatest subversion in all of human history: the story of a man born into humility, hated by the expressly political forces of His day, and killed by the combined specters of empire and bastardized religious fervor that still haunt us today. All of us, class, race, and political party aside, could find ourselves in the crowd that called for His murder. The world always chooses Barabbas. That means you and I.

 

The mystery of Christianity is that all of those things—empire, political manipulation, and most impossibly, our own sin—are overcome, as surely as our Lord overcame death. As God’s only truly chosen people, it’s now our job to live lives in service of that victory. It’s a call that transcends even crucially important things like social, political, and national identity. In our darkest moments, hope is ignited by a truth not of this world. Now, we need to be bold enough to believe it.

 

Risen

This Easter, and every Easter, Christ is king. And if you think that’s first and foremost a political statement, that’s a problem with you. Not with Christ.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” –1 Corinthians 15:20, 26

 

About the Author

Isaac Willour is a marketing fellow at the Institute for Faith and Freedom and the editor-in-chief of Checkpoint News.  He is a corporate relations analyst at Bowyer Research. He’s also an award-winning journalist, with work featured at USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and C-SPAN. He tweets @IsaacWillour.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the writer alone. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grove City College, the Institute for Faith and Freedom, or their affiliates.

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