Category: Resurrection (Page 1 of 11)

Resurrection Community

Not one person experienced the resurrection of Jesus alone. Nobody encountered the risen Jesus by themselves. The people who saw the empty tomb and the angels, the ones who ate dinner with Jesus that evening–they were all with their friends. Most of them, we know their names. We know their stories. We know about their relationships with one another.

The resurrection of Jesus creates togetherness. It creates community. It forms us together as one people today, just like it did then.

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ.” ~Ephesians 2:4-5

I still think the best picture of this is in Acts 2. Those first disciples who witnessed the risen Lord, those first 120 followers of Jesus who were gifted by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost, are living resurrection life together in community.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the community, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… All the believers were together and had everything in community. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” ~ Acts 2:42-46

They didn’t have a whole lot in common other than the resurrection. But they acted like family. Every day. In each other’s homes. Loving each other. Serving each other. Ministering to one another. Taking care of each other. Eating together. Praying and singing together. They devoted themselves to the community.

The resurrection community is like a neighborhood, but it’s more personal. It’s like a family, but it’s more diverse. It can be like a football team or a civic club, but it’s much stronger. Your resurrection community, your church family, is brought together and held together by something much bigger than you. But some of you just aren’t around enough to be changed by it. Some of you–seriously–we hardly ever see you.

We need each other. None of us can do this by ourselves. It’s impossible. We were raised by Christ and with Christ to be together. I need you. And whether you admit it or not, and whether you like it or not, you need me.

You need me to love you. I need you to encourage me.

You need me to challenge you. I need you to correct me.

I need your strength when I’m tired. You need my support when you’re down.

I need your patience when I’m out. You need my joy when you don’t have any.

We all need to remind each other about the resurrection and our parts in it. We all need to be able to look around and see clearly that we’re not in this new resurrection lives by ourselves.



Easter Blessing

The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead! God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him!”
~Acts 5:30-32

Christ Jesus our Lord is risen and reigning today, right now, at the right hand of God. May he bless us and his Church with the same boldness and courage of the disciples who witnessed it.



Resurrection Hope Right Now

In Mark’s resurrection story, it’s not, “Hey, Jesus is raised! That means there really is life after death!” No, it’s more like, “Jesus is raised and he wants you to go to Galilee to see him! Today! You will see him, just as he told you!” In other words, everything Jesus told you about God’s Kingdom is coming true right now. It’s happening today. And you’re in on it!

Same deal in Matthew. “He is risen from the dead! Awesome! That means we’re going to heaven!” No, it’s more like, “Go see him in Galilee today! He’s got work for you to do! When Jesus meets them there, they worship the risen King and he says, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Now, go! And surely I am with you every step of the way!”

Resurrection doesn’t mean escaping from the world someday when we die. It’s means ministering to the world today while we’re alive. Resurrection hope is a way to live and work for the sake of the world by the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus right now. We are the messengers now, we’re the deliverers of the Good News that the risen Messiah is the King of the whole world. We demonstrate that Good News by living resurrection lives. We call on others to receive it and respond to it for their own resurrection power and hope in Jesus.

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They will rest from their labor for their deeds will follow them.” ~Revelation 14:13

We are–each of us, all of us–commissioned by God’s resurrection power to live and work for the coming and everlasting Kingdom of God on earth. That’s Christ’s prayer and that’s our hope: that God’s will be finally and fully done on earth as it is in heaven. We’re not oiling the wheels of a giant machine that’s going to roll off the side of a cliff. We’re not restoring a masterpiece painting that’s ultimately going to be thrown into a fire. We’re not planting roses in a garden that’s destined to be dug up for a parking garage. You are accomplishing something every day that will be an important part of God’s eternal Kingdom forever.

Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every act of care and nurturing, of comfort and support; every prayer lifted; every lesson taught; every good deed that spreads the Good News; everything you do in the name and manner of our Lord Jesus becomes an important part of his Kingdom. We are given resurrection hope in order to share that hope with others. And everything we contribute to the cause–everything!–is used by God toward that great and ultimate end. Every cup of cold water given in his name; every snack packed for at-risk school kids; every check written for foreign missions; every meal served at Family Promise; every diaper changed at Young Lives; every kid mentored at Opportunity Tribe; every fist bumped at Emerson Elementary; every hospital and prison visit; every act of kindness toward an immigrant or refugee–all your work matters. Every minute is packed with heavenly potential. Every action is loaded with eternal consequences. What great hope!

Resurrection hope. Genuine hope for tomorrow. Living hope for today.



Resurrection Power

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” ~ Philippians 3:10

The power of the resurrection of Jesus is the Gospel. Jesus lives! Jesus reigns! It’s great news! It’s the best news you’ve ever heard! The resurrection of Jesus proves the universal and eternal power of our God. Earth-shattering, history-changing, mind-blowing power. And to all of us who belong to God in Christ, that exact same power belongs to us.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” ~Ephesians 1:18-21

Scripture goes out of its way to explain to us disciples just how much power we have in Christ. Eternal power. Dynamic power. It’s like the apostle Paul pulls out his college Thesaurus and conjures up every possible word for power: rule, authority, power, dominion, title. And he says Christ is more powerful than all of it. Every power that’s ever been and ever will be, every title that’s ever been given and ever will be given, every government, every political structure, every economic system, every industrial complex, every biological reality, every financial authority, every historical rule–Christ Jesus dominates all of it by the power of his resurrection!

That’s what changes everything. If you are connected to God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the most powerful power in the history of the universe is inside you. You’ve got resurrection power.

You’ve got it. But you don’t get it.

We just don’t get it. If we do get it, it only seems to be in the abstract logical sense, not in the practical, real, living every moment of every day application sense. We’ve got God’s resurrection power inside us. But we don’t get it. How do I know?

Because I see us all over the place chasing after different kinds of power. The wrong kind of power. A far inferior power. Some of us are losing our minds chasing after regional and national power. We’re throwing our money and our energy into political party platforms and putting our names and our reputations behind elderly men in suits so they can appoint other people in robes to reach decisions that make things worse instead of better.

Some of us have bought into the fear and anxiety. We worry about not having control or losing our influence. And when we’re told that if we don’t vote for the right guy or support the right agenda the Church of Jesus Christ will be in big trouble, we swallow it hook, line, and sinker like Jesus Christ is somehow still in the grave! He isn’t! He is risen! And he is our King! And if his resurrection power is more than enough to destroy forever the forces of sin and death and Satan, why in the world would any of us think for a second that his eternal Kingdom could ever be impacted by whether there’s a Democrat or a Republican living on Pennsylvania Avenue?

No wonder this is the focus of Paul’s great prayer: I want you to know the power. I want you to understand it. To grasp it. To own the staggering truth that the same Holy Spirit power that brought Jesus out of the grave to reign supreme forever at the right hand of God is the exact same power we have in us and at our disposal as his disciples.

What might happen if we really believed that? Oh, man. Everything would change. Everything!



Resurrection Revival

We live differently when we live in the risen Lord of Heaven and Earth. We act differently. And it’s obvious to those around us. Things of this world don’t matter as much. The fact that Jesus is alive today and reigning in all power and authority at the right hand of God guarantees that we will defeat death, too. And it changes everything. Everything.

“The Resurrection addresses those who insist on protection and security of the individual, institutions, and country. Such persons set up mechanisms of defense along economic, racial, and national lines. In sharp contrast, the life of the Spirit, with its hope in the Resurrection, does not, indeed cannot dwell on preservation of the flesh–personhood, institutions, nations. Rather, the corporate life of the Christian becomes one of risk. A Christian hospital can accept more welfare patients than economically advisable because it knows God’s love for the poor does not depend on its continued existence. Christians can call for total disarmament in the middle of a cold war because they know the future of the world does not depend on the survival of their nation. A Christian can risk his or her life because a Christian knows this life is not the end.” ~ Graydon Snyder, 1992

If we’re promised by God to be raised like Jesus, then we can live like Jesus. You’ve got resurrection power! It’s in you, empowering you to teach, to help others, to encourage, to forgive, to make peace, to sacrifice and serve and love. If you’ve got resurrection power–and you do!–you can be bold and risky in inviting your neighbors to church. You can be bold and risky in giving to Family Promise and volunteering at Mission Agape. You can be bold and risky in denying self and sacrificing self, knowing that the salvation of your soul and the salvation of the whole world is safe in the powerful arms of our God who promises and delivers resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus is a big deal in the Bible. And it’s a big deal today.

If we’ll embrace the resurrection, if you’ll claim the power of the resurrection as your own, it will change everything. We won’t think twice about our feelings or our fate. You won’t blink when something threatens your reputation or your rights, your status or your popularity. Resurrection power strengthens you to live like our King, to live with our King, and to live in our King, right now today and forever.

May our God overwhelm you today with the peace and grace that comes from our risen Lord. And may he grant you the blessings of an eternal perspective grounded in the resurrection.



Resurrection People

Christ Jesus is risen and that means you’ll be raised, too. Your resurrection is guaranteed by the One who’s gone before. Jesus says, “Because I live, you also will live!” We can possess and experience right now today the power of Christ’s resurrection as lean into it and yield ourselves to it. And live it.

If we’ll embrace the resurrection, if we’ll claim the promises of the resurrection as our own, it will radically impact the way we see ourselves, the way we view others, and the way we interact with the world around us. We will have no problem risking our well-being, our reputations, and our very lives for the sake of our Lord.

The resurrection means we’re not afraid of death. So my first priority is not my personal security, it’s not preserving the institutions or saving the country. No, it’s so much bigger than that! And if we’ll own it, we’ll not worry so much about temporary things, and we’ll devote more of our resources and energies to eternal things.

Because of the resurrection, we’re not scared. We’re risk-takers. We have a clear vision of what’s important and what’s not and we’re not afraid. And that makes us dangerous.

A Christian hospital can accept more welfare patients than might be economically advisable because it knows God’s love for the poor does not depend on its continued existence. A Christian business can hire ex-cons and former felons because it knows God’s grace and forgiveness doesn’t end if their business goes under. Professors at a Christian university can call for total disarmament during a cold war because they know the future of the world does not depend on the survival of their nation. Christians can risk their lives because we know this life is not the end!

The resurrection invites all of us, it calls us, to walk through the door into a brand new world where the ultimate reality is not death, but eternal life in the One who brought our Lord out of the grave. To know the resurrection, to live the resurrection, means to act with boldness and courage. No fear. Brakes off. Full steam ahead.

Because of the resurrection, a Christian church can take bolder risks in evangelizing our neighborhoods, bolder risks in ministering to the homeless and hungry, bolder risks in loving our enemies and forgiving those who hurt us, bolder risks in protecting the helpless and defending the weak. The resurrection means we say Yes to bigger Gospel dreams and we say No to maintaining the status quo.

We can risk anything and we can give everything in denying self and sacrificing self, knowing that the salvation of the world and the salvation of my body and soul is in the powerful and loving hands of the God who promises and delivers the resurrection. We can be a Resurrection People who live to give life to others. And that will bring everlasting glory and praise to our God.



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