HE IS RISEN!!! PRAISE GOD!!!
The question’s been on my mind all day, and returns on a regular basis even when it’s not the easter season. What does the resurrection mean to me? Where is the power of the resurrection in my life? It’s been observed that the resurrection is the most offensive thing about the Gospel to the unbelieving world. The world can accept that Christ was a good man, a teacher, a martyr, even a miracle worker. But to say that he rose from the dead and now sits on the right hand of God, that’s what they can’t stand to hear. Like Marcellus (sp?) in “The Robe”. His belief in Christ as a good teacher, here to offer a better way of life, was completely acceptable to him. The idea that the divine power of God had raised Christ from the dead, ruined the whole story for him. This attitude is reflected in all of society today, even as an article in Newsweek attempts to explain how the story of Jesus was misconstrued in an attempt to deify a beloved martyr. My mind jumps to a story I read a long time ago in the “Voice of the Martyrs” magazine (a great publication, and an organization very worthy of our support. We have brothers and sisters suffering and dying for their faith all over the world.) The story told of a gathering held by the communists shortly after they took over Romania at the close of WWII. The communists called all the christians to the cities and held conventions with some of the best atheistic thinkers, to disprove the story of Christ and weaken the church. One famous atheist got up and gave a long presentation disproving the story of Christ with all the evidence available from modern history and science. After he finished, he asked for questions. There was a hesitation, as everyone considered the cost of dissent. Then an old minister hobbled up from the back of the auditorium and stepped up to the microphone. He spoke only three simple words, the essence of the believer’s hope: “He is risen.” And the Spirit moved. Knowing the price they might pay, the auditorium stood as one man and raised their voices in response, “He is risen indeed!”
What does the resurrection mean to me? Purpose and power. To will and to do. It is the purpose of my life, a new direction, the hope of life. As Paul sums it up, without the resurrection, “your faith is vain.” If Christ were still in the grave, we would still have his teachings of morality, his example of love, but without the power to effect change in our lives or the world. The POWER of the resurrection, though, is the motor behind the plan of salvation. That’s why the world hates it so. It is the believer’s boldness, it is the assurance that allows us to let the Spirit work in our lives, even when He makes no sense to us. It is what allows us to stand and look death in the face and have no fear. And nothing in this world can stop a man that has no fear. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” That means that to get to us, one must go through Christ and God! What an awesome thought! What place could be safer than that? And the promise of that security, that hope, is the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is my only reason to live. Without the risen Lord, I have no reason to continue in this life, and I am “of all men most miserable.” Perhaps no greater truth has been put to tune than this:
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
In the same token, because Christ arose, we have access to the power that raised Him, and can do “all things through Christ”. So no matter what you’re going through this spring, or even if you’ve just entered a period of ignorant contentedness with your walk, remember you have access to the greatest power in the universe through Christ and His resurrection. Careful, though. This power is accessed by faith, and those who ask for this power must be prepared for change. The power of the resurrection is the power to ACT for God. It isn’t a remedy for what ails us, not a crutch for the weak, not the vain hope of a race desperate to escape their mortality. Just look at what the realization of the resurrection, coupled with the infilling of the Spirit, did for the disciples and the early church. Know that the power of the resurrection is there to embolden us to lead a life on the edge for God, ready to face whatever the world has to throw at us, a life of hardship and persecution, but never a life of apathy. The power is only to accompany the purpose. And if you seek them both… you will find them.
Happy Resurrection Day to all, even those of you who know that Easter is a pagan holiday, disguised by the early Catholics to combine Ishtar with Christianity. =P