He has won!
Marathons remain the greatest challenge most runners will face. This race of 26 miles, 385 yards is based on the legend of Greek messenger Pheidippides in 490 BC. He was supposed to have run from Marathon to Athens after a major battle where the Greeks defeated the invading Persians. Legend claims he fought in the Battle of Marathon and then was sent, what is now the Marathon race distance, to tell the people of Athens of their victory. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming “neni-kek-amen” – “we have wοn!”
After the events of the first Easter, those who belong to Jesus find that they are sent with (an even more important) message of victory!
Jesus had been crucified that first Good Friday shouting victoriously “It is finished!” (John 19:30). After burial in a donated grave, the first Easter Sunday saw some of his friends discovering the tomb empty and then Jesus alive again! That evening “Jesus came and stood among them …he showed them his hands and his side and said ‘As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’” (John 20:21)
Here is Jesus – bearing the marks of His death but now alive in His transformed physical body. His mission has been successful. His death and resurrection means God is able to forgive sins and eventually bring those who believe in Him into a new world where today’s brokenness will be replaced with righteousness and peace.
This is truly a message to share – but Jesus doesn’t send His people alone. That same evening Jesus promised help in the person of the Holy Spirit and commissioned His people patterned on His own commission of being sent to help people in their brokenness; teaching, serving, giving, loving.
Easter reminds us that Jesus is victorious and His people (the church) share in His mission; sent out to take the message “He has won!”