Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!”

—Luke 24:5-6

Many things changed when Jesus rose from the dead.  One of them was that mechanical practice of religion gave way to a living faith in a risen Savior.  Before Christ there were two religions.  Of course there were countless man-made religions that were all false.  There was also the God-ordained Old Testament Jewish religion that was holy and good—as long as it was observed appropriately.

Appropriate observance of the Jewish religion meant worshiping and obeying God with one’s heart and mind fully engaged, trusting that God would do for His people what they couldn’t do for themselves, namely: make themselves acceptable to God.  Sadly, as the Jewish prophets, including Jesus, said in Matthew 15:8-9: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

Pagan religion was dead, and in practice, even the Jewish religion was being practiced in a manner that was dead.

The women who came to the empty tomb on the first Easter were asked, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!”  In like manner, everyone who practices a religion without the Risen Christ is looking for life where only death exists.  And even those who acknowledge Jesus, but who worship Him according to the methods of dead religion, are looking for life where only death exists.

Since our Savior rose from the dead, never to die again, let us worship and serve Him with a living faith, a faith: directed solely by the Word of God which is “living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.”