Happy Easter! Christ Jesus is alive; to the wonderment of nature, I received him in Holy Communion on Sunday! It gave me joy to know that I received the Living One, the antidote to my death and the One who raises me up to a new way of life.
He who died is himself the resurrection and life and therefore could not be held by death; Jesus destroyed death, taking the sting out of it. I like the way Saint John Chrysostom puts it in his Sermon on Pascha:
Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone forth from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.
When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: “O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world.” Hades is angered because it has been frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now held captive. It seized a body, and lo! it discovered God; it seized earth, and, behold! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.
O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and life is freed;
Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen