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But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20

Brother Andrew shares today’s devotional:

At the time of the cruel persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin, public meetings were regularly held in order to ridicule religion, the church and the priests. On one occasion the inhabitants of a town were summoned to the main square. From a platform on the square, a fluent 'scholarly’ atheist, who seemed to have many proofs against the Bible, God and the clergy addressed the public.

The crowd had listened silently. But when the local priest was called to the front to answer this brilliant oration, an uneasy muttering rippled through the crowd. The man went and stood close to the microphone and everyone held his breath. The tension could be cut with a knife, and you could hear a pin drop. What would his answer be?

We shall never know what went on in the heart of this man - his fear, his prayer - but at last his voice could be heard, resounding through the loudspeakers, not only to the crowd, but also to a large part of the city: “Khristos voskrese!” Christ is risen!

For one split second there was silence. A shudder went through the crowd and then, as a blazing testimony to the priest and to the atheist opponent, the cry broke out, unanimous and powerful: “Voistinu voskrese!” The Lord is risen indeed!

That was a bad day for atheistic propaganda in Russia. It was also a bad day for the religious leaders in Jerusalem, nearly 2,000 years ago, because they had to bribe the soldiers with much money to get them to tell lies (Matthew 28:12-13). It was also a bad day for the guards who “became like dead men” (Matthew 28:4).

But it was a bad day especially for the devil because if he had known this, he “would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8).

The one who believes in the Cross and the Resurrection takes the side of those who are persecuted. Or, to put it another way, whoever identifies with the persecuted church stands in the power of the Resurrection - a target of misguided and corrupt people, but nevertheless together with the mighty Conqueror. The Lamb conquers and we conquer too...in Him. Hallelujah!

RESPONSE: Today I rejoice in the glorious truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, may the persecuted church around the world resound today with a vocal outburst of assurance that Jesus is alive.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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