Recently we celebrated Jesus rising from the dead. He left the tomb empty, to live forever. And we dare not pass by Easter without personalizing what that means for each of us. As often as we commemorate Christ’s glorious resurrection, we appropriate the power of God to raise us up as well.
So, this side of Easter are we really different? We can be.
Are we truly seeking His righteousness? He’s calling us to.
I can’t help but think of Lazarus, a precious friend of Jesus, who was called forth from his tomb four days after he died. You may know the story well, it’s found in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, verses 11-44. Jesus had been notified that Lazarus was near death but didn’t go to him immediately. When He finally arrived in the town of Bethany, the people had been mourning four days, and Lazarus’ corpse had begun the decay process. Death gives off a terrible, dreadful odor, and Martha (one of Lazarus’ sisters) wasn’t eager to have his tomb disturbed.
Jesus prayed to God, and then over-ruling natural law, called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, Come out!” The same resurrection power that would soon raise Jesus from the dead, caused Lazarus to come back to life and depart his tomb. What a joyous but frightening sight! Still bound in his grave cloths, with his face covered, Lazarus walked out.
Resurrection power: that earth-shaking, rock-moving, soldier-toppling, light-blinding, life-giving, sin-defeating power! Have you felt it? Do you want to? Are you willing?
Image by Lisa Shuffle, Volusia County, FL
God is calling us to be free of death! He grants us eternal life now, and in the future. Why do we settle for so much less? The life Jesus offers is joyful and self-controlled, generous and hopeful, eager, and willing for His transforming touch.
I don’t know about you, but I have some attitudes and habits that need to die. The bravado of New Year’s resolutions has petered out, and I’m faced with some wrong-thinking and sinful reactions that block me from God’s best. Yet, He is able and willing to transform me if I call out for His help. The Bible says the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to those who believe the Good News.
If you believe that God sent His Son to die on a cross, paying the debt for your sinfulness, and then rose Him from the grave, you will be saved. The apostle Paul wrote plainly in his letter to the Roman church: “the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11
To the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote: “understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:19-20
So, I hear God’s Spirit telling me to come out of the tomb! It is an empty, cold, discouraging place where worldly desires putrefy. It holds nothing of value, nothing that can satisfy. He urges me to set aside the works of the flesh and clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:11-14)
In that way I choose resurrection power over death, and so can you!