Tag Archives: Resurrection

Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Subject:  Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Text:  John 13:21-32
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

 

Introduction

Well, it’s been about 3 years and much has happened.  Jesus intentionally chose 12 men to follow him as disciples and women raised funds to ensure his ministry would be successful.  But for this moment let us consider what happens when your inner circle breaks down when it betrays and denies you right before your very eyes.  For this is not a backdoor affair, this is a public denial by those whom Jesus handpicked to take his ministry to another level. That is the case within our text.  The entire 12 abandon our Lord when he should have been able to count on them most.  It’s amazing what pressure on your convictions can produce.

So Jesus is seated at the table with his disciples, breaking bread with them and the Holy Spirit gives him a glimpse of what he will have to endure in the coming days.  Among this revelation, Jesus sees Judas, his treasurer betray him, his closest ally, Peter denies him, and then the other 11 desert him.  Talking about a vision from God, Jesus certainly had one.

These are not strangers, these are close associates, his disciples.  Men who supposedly have left all to follow Jesus, all ambitions, all worldly pursuits, all worldly desires for power and prestige.  Men who have traveled with Jesus across the Palestinian valleys and the Judaean hills.  They have crossed the Sea of Galilee with him, even endured criticism of him, and have had intense debates regarding theology with him.  They know him, and yet they don’t know him as well as they should. The fact is it is in the hour of greatest adversity, that they get a chance to discover that they are not who they think they are.  They are not the courageous 12, they are more like the hateful 8.  They’re a hot mess; they are pre-resurrection disciples in need of post-resurrection power to be effective witnesses.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 1

This turn of events, this traumatic incident in his life, caused Jesus to reflect on the words of King David, the Psalmist King.  King David, when faced with the dire circumstance of betrayal, lamented in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”   I wonder if he was being prophetic or if Absalom’s betrayal hurt him just as much as Judas’ betrayal tormented Jesus.  But let us move on, it’s lunchtime and we cannot linger here.

It is traumatic because Judas does not betray Jesus until Judas is blessed by Jesus.  It is only after he receives the bread that Judas yields himself to Satan.  Can you imagine that?  You bless your inner circle and then your inner circle betrays you.  Lord, have mercy!

That’s a message all by itself; let us move on.  The Holy Spirit gives Jesus a vision only of betrayal, denial, and abandonment or so it seems; because despite his tortured soul at this revelation from the Holy Spirit, Jesus sees what will happen post-resurrection.

 

Move 2

And that’s why we celebrate Holy Week.  We assemble because we understand the blessing of post-resurrection.  Yes, when pressure is applied, we may fail, but that’s pre-resurrection.  Yes, we may betray friends, deny allies, and even abandon loved ones in their hour of greatest need, but that is pre-resurrection.  Pre-resurrection happens in the face of unforeseen circumstances wherein we thought we could stand only to discover the pressures of life beat back our resolve and revealed our cowardice.

How many times have we resolutely proclaimed a stand for righteousness, justice, and equality only to back down in the face of our opponents?  How often have we made vows to God only to see ourselves fail to fulfill our vows?  This is the stuff of pre-resurrection. Stuff we are called to overcome with post-resurrection power.

But isn’t it good to know that there is fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein and sinner’s plunge beneath that flood lose all their guilt and shame.  I’m so glad that God has given us a solution to our pre-resurrection blues.  For I hear the Apostle Paul declare, “When I would do good, evil is always present within me.”  And then Paul asks the Questions:  “Who shall deliver us from these pre-resurrection struggles?”  “I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!” These words led the hymn writer to exclaim, “What can wipe away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus!  What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus!’

I stop by here on this Wednesday of Holy Week to share with you that there is post-resurrection power for pre-resurrection failure. His Name is Jesus.

And if your inner circle breaks down, if your life has been turned upside down just remember that it was in a similar incident that Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.” It is in that hour when your entire world is turned upside down, that God will get some glory out of your life. It’s a matter of perspective

Sometimes, you have to be left alone, ostracized, rejected and abandoned in order to see the glory of God in your life.  Remember beloved, God is not dependent on your friends or your associates to use you.  God does not need you to get over 1,000 social media followers in order to make you a sponsor of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus saw his betrayal, denial, and abandonment as an opportunity for God to be glorified and so should you.

 

Move 3

Let us pray.  Heavenly Father, may we be able to surrender our will to yours, our friends and family to you even in pre-resurrection circumstances.  For we believe that your post-resurrection power is more than enough to bring glory to your name.  Let us view our situations as Christ viewed his:  as an opportunity for you to show up and show out.  Bless your word today, in Jesus Name, Amen.

When Life Throws You a Curve

Scripture:  Ezekiel 37:1-14

Introduction

My brother Dwight and I were born one year apart.  As we grew up, mother clearly recognized that we could be hellions.  Dwight and I played rough; we fought as if we had not been related.  He hit me in the back of my head with a brick and the dent still remains; I stabbed him in the foot with a knife and that gash left a prominent scar.

Yet we grew up with hopes and dreams of becoming rich and prosperous.  We longed for the day when we would enjoy life together.  When he was 15, almost 16 and I was 16 almost 17, I entered the United States Army in June 1973.  In August I was in Basic Individual Training, almost ready to graduate and go to Fort Polk, LA for Advanced Training enroute to Vietnam.  I was taking drown proofing that morning; It was the morning life threw me a curve.

My 1SG sent for me; there was an emergency at home; my beloved brother Dwight had died.  I was totally devastated; all the plans we had made were lost; I had done nothing wrong; yet my brother was gone.  I couldn’t swim; but Dwight could swim like a fish.  I tell you life had thrown me a curve.  My spirit was broken.

I wonder if there is anyone here who has been crushed by life; whose spirit has been broken; Lord, have mercy!

 Move 1

Ezekiel was born into a family of priests. He dreamed of the day when he would serve as a priest.  Solomon had built this beautiful temple to the Lord. It was magnificent. As Ezekiel grew up, each time he went passed the temple he thought inside, “one day I’m going to work there.

One day the people will come to me, and I will offer sacrifices on their behalf to God.One day I’ll start to move up the ranks of the priest and who knows I may even become one of the chief priests. Ezekiel spent his entire young life, preparing to become a priest to serve in the temple. The Jewish law provided for a man to enter into the priesthood at the age of 30. Ezekiel thought all he had to do was to make it to age 30. Ezkiel could hardly wait for his 30th birthday.

Ezekiel had a one day vision.  One day, “I’m going to be priest.  I wonder if any of you have had a one day vision; one day I’m going to be on that team.” One day I’m going to get that job. One day “I’m going to finish my education.” One day I’m going to get out of this neighborhood. One day!

Well I stop by to tell you that life is filled with interruptions, life can throw you a curve that will mess up your one day plans.

Move 2

Ezekiel was looking forward to becoming a priest, however the people of God were busy living their own lives as though God did not exist. They were far more interested in money, sex, and power than God.

God told them to repent or he would remove them from his presence. There response was “who is the Lord that we should worship Him.” They forgot He was the one who brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They forgot He was the one who put health in their bodies and light in their eyes. They forgot he was the one who got them out of bed each morning and enabled them to go to work. They forgot he was the one who really was in control of everything.

When they refused to repent and turn back to God, God sent the Babylonian army to destroy the city of Jerusalem.  Historians tell us that Ezekiel was probably about 25 years old when this happened.

Those vicious Babylonian soldiers massacred the people in the city, young and old, male and female alike. They set fire to the magnificent temple Solomon had built and had stood for 400 years and they reduced it to rubble and ashes.

Just 5 birthdays away from obtaining his goal of serving as a priest in the temple, Ezekiel watched as his dreams, his hopes, his plans for the future all went up in flames as the Babylonians set fire to the temple.

Ezekiel tells us in chapter 1 of verse 1, when he was 30 years old, he was among the captives by the river of Kebar, a canal off the Euphrates River in Babylon which is present day Iraq.

He had envisioned that at age 30 he would be in Jerusalem finally ascending to the priesthood with a grand coronation.  He had envisioned. His family and everybody would be celebrating with him. He had envisioned being at the top of his game. But it didn’t happen that way. Tell your neighbor their might be a change in plans.

Instead, he finds himself in rags, a slave with the other captives, not even having property they could call their own. Ezekiel was devastated.  His dreams of becoming a priest had been crushed.  He along with the other captives cried out “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

In other words, God has abandoned us; our hopes, dreams, and visions have been destroyed.  We are of all men most miserable.  What did they have to live for? His one vision of becoming a priest in the temple was over; life had thrown Ezekiel a curve.

Move 3

Early one morning, Ezekiel got a word from the Lord.  It was a word for people whose life had been devastated.  It was for a people who had lost a major battle and been slain.  It was a word for people whose hopes and dreams had been crushed and who lay lifeless on the ground.

Ezekiel was a part of that crowd.  And God visited him.  When life throws you a curve, expect God to visit you if you are one of his children.  God gave Ezekiel a new vision.  No he would no longer be a priest; but God who can transform your life from one dream to the next; our God decided to make Ezekiel a prophet.  A watchman and a voice to let his people know that their God was still on the throne with all power in his hand.

Yes, the people were devastated.  Yes, the people had been slain in battle.  But God showed up.  Imagine with me for a moment the Armies of Israel and the Armies of the Babylonians colliding with each other on the battlefield with swords and spears.

The death toll is amazing. There are far too many dead for the living to bury them all so they strip them of their clothing and valuables and they just leave them to rot in the sun. Over time, scattered all over the plains is this pile of bones in every direction. They have become bleached white in the sun. It’s an erie sight to see the skulls, the rib cages, the arm and leg bones scattered throughout the battlefield.  The Armies of Israel lay desolate in the sun; casualties of trying to fight to survive; decimated, dead, and defeated.

Yes, Israel’s hope is lost, their dreams dashed in the process of life. And it is to very place, God’s Spirit speaks to a prophet whose hopes have been crushed in the Babylonian Captivity.  I think God is telling him, look you think you and your people have it bad, what about what took place here in this place. All the hopes, the dreams, the fears, the love, the hate, the plans, they had, stopped right here on this battlefield. Look at how dry the bones are. They have been here for a long time.

And I stop by to ask somebody, even though your hopes have been crushed and your dreams have been smashed; even though life has thrown you a curve, when was the last time you visited a cemetery?  There are some people buried whose hopes were still alive and yet you sit here with the blood running warm in your veins.  Can I get a witness, here?

Then God asks the impossible. “Ezekiel, can these bones live?” What is the situation around your life today. What is it that seems to be robbing you of your life? When God’s hand is upon you and walking with you, God asks “ Can life be brought again out of this disaster.” Ezekiel responded, “Oh Sovereign Lord, You Alone Know.’ I want us to notice that Ezekiel admits, he does not know the answer as to whether those dried up bones could live again, but he does know who does know what it would take for it to make it happen.

I don’t know what bad decision you have made. I don’t know what situation you are in at home. I don’t know why getting a job has been so hard for you. I don’t know if you’re going to lose your home or lose your car. I don’t know if, how or when things might turn around for you. But I do know who has the answer to all of those questions. I do know who has the power to make you start living again. His name is Jesus. Tell your neighbor, it’s time to start living again.

God told priest now turned prophet in Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NIV) 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ’Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

I want you to notice, what God told Ezekiel to do. Notice that God’s response to the curve ball that interrupted Ezekiel’s plans was way outside the box. Some of us would have protested after all who wants to preach to a dead church, with a dead situation? Some of us would have said, I can’t do it. I need to be assigned to a church where somebody will say amen and somebody will shout when I preach the Word of God. Some of us would have thought that preaching to dead, dry bones was a waste of our time.  Lord, have mercy!

But I’m so glad that Ezekiel did what God told him to do. He began to speak the word of God over a hopeless looking situation. And I stop by to tell you that you need to start speaking the word of God over your dead situation. For the bible says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  For the bible says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”  Can I get a witness here?

Ezekiel preached and Ezekiel saw these bones come together, and then tendons grew and held them together, the muscles grew on the bones, and the skin started covering the muscles. All of sudden he finds himself in the middle of a massive army, but nobody’s moving, and nobody is alive. God tells him to prophesy once again. Ezekiel 37:9-10 (NIV)

Just because your life may seem way out of control with pieces, scattered all over the place, just keep on speaking the word, and things will start coming back together again. Don’t get scared when you feel life coming back into your situation.  It’s just God pulling things together for you.

But God didn’t stop with just a physical restoration.  God completed the work by getting Ezekiel to call on the Holy Spirit for a spiritual restoration.  Somebody here has a broken spirit, a contrite heart, and wants you to know he’s with you.  Physically, you’re present and accounted for, but spiritually you’re broken and defeated.

God wants you to know that he has the answer for your lost passion and joy in life.  God knows that thing devastated your spirit and you are depressed and in despair.  And so God said to Ezekiel in verse 9 “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ’This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet–a vast army.

You see even after we get things put back together, it’s not enough for us to think we can handle it from here. We need to have the Spirit of God working on the inside us in order for us to become truly alive. It looked like God was taking Ezekiel to a cemetery. The last stop, the place where hope is buried and dreams are concealed.  But God, somebody say But God, was actually taking him to a place to discover that even when life throws you a curve, if you hear the word of the Lord, God can bring life back into your situation. Hallelujah!

I know your situation is devastating and I know you want to quit, roll over and play dead, but don’t you give up on God yet. Perhaps God has taken you to that place so that you can find out just how great your God is.  Church I tell, our God is a Wonder; our God is an awesome God and when you come out of this, you won’t look like what you been through.  Hallelujah!

God you see was not only restoring hope to those in captivity, but God was restoring hope and life to Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was at his end, but God, through his own preaching, resurrected dead dreams within him.  God by this vision allowed Ezekiel to know that the enemy may have captured you, but the enemy did not capture God.  God by this vision allowed Ezekiel to know that although he would not be a priest, he could still prophesy.  He could still be used in God’s service.  Beloved, no matter what you’ve been through God can still use you in his service.

Because that same Holy Spirit that breathe on those people; that same Holy Spirit that brought life, hope, and possibilities back to those people is the same Holy Spirit that wants to resurrect you.  For I hear Jesus declare in John 7:37-39, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!  For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.”  (when he said “living water”, he was speaking of the Spirit who would be given to everyone believing in him.  But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

There may be people who have written you off today because of the mistakes you have made. You may have written yourself off because life threw you a curve. Your friends may have abandoned you; your enemies may have persecuted you.  Your life, your dream was stolen from you and you thought all hope was lost.

But I stop by to tell you that now you are clean, now you are washed by the water and the word of Almighty God.  And if you’ll speak God’s Word and be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, God will resurrect you.  I’m a living witness.  I have been down that road of tragedy where my vocation, my career was lost.  I’ve been thrown a curve ball or two beloved, but I found out that God is able to do what no other power can do.  He picked me up out of the trap of the enemy.  He restored my name and my soul.  He brought me out of darkness into the marvelous light, and God will do the same thing for you.

He is able to intervene; so when life throws you a curve.  Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.  He will deliver; he will come through for you.  Hallelujah!

Good News at the Gravesite

10 Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look[a] into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,[b] “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her._

Introduction
Everyone else had gone home. The funeral was over, tears had been shed, hugs had been given, words of comfort had been spoken. It was over. But Mary stood weeping at the gravesite. She was left behind to mourn alone. Mary was left behind to cry as she reflected on this momentous occasion, the death of her beloved Jesus. And cry she did, all alone. Or so it seemed.
Her grief was severe for Jesus had meant so much to her.

Jesus, you remember had broken every chain that held her bound. Chains caused by being possessed by seven demonic spirits. And while they saw no hope for her future, Jesus in one moment totally changed her life. She fell in love with the man Jesus. Fell in love with him because he freed her from the criticism of men, the cold stares of women less beautiful and less desirable than she. Freed her from the taunt of the religious community that looked down upon women in her condition. Freed her I say from a community that would berate her and hold her as someone to be shunned and ignored.
Yes, her relationship with Jesus while he was on earth was special. Special because it was Jesus who protected her from those who would see her live a depressed, despondent, and deflated life. Special because her entire life changed when she met Jesus and so she spent the rest of her life following him and caring for him. But now that relationship was over; she sits weeping at the gravesite, alone, or so it seems.

Countless women know Mary of Magdala. Women are familiar with her plight. For they too have been left to exist on the fringes of society because they too have been used by men and accosted by women. They too have been ridiculed while being taken advantage of. They too have been visited in the night and then shunned in the daylight. Whispers have been heard in the malls and marketplaces as they have walked by to shop and people have slid down in the pews when they took a seat. Yes, you know Mary. You understand her tears; you too have been left alone. You too have been left at the gravesite to cry all by yourself. People have left you to grieve your aloneness, alone. Or so it seems.

Move 1
The testimony of the text is that while Mary was crying, God was present. While Mary was weeping angels showed up to question her, and to comfort her. I stop by to tell you, you are not alone. Once you have known Jesus as a friend and brother, you are never alone. Beloved, you are not alone. God sees your tears and is catching them with his heart. Just imagine for a moment your tears being captured not by God’s eyes, yes he can see them. Captured not by his ears, yes he can hear them. Captured not by his hands, yes, he could wipe them. But rather captured by his heart, where he can feel them. That’s an awesome image. Beloved, remember, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.”

The angels confronted her, “Mary, why are you crying?” “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him,” she responded. In other words, Mary was weeping because her relationship with Jesus had been abruptly ended. He died too soon, she was not ready to let him go. Her world as she knew it had been shattered; her only defender gone, killed by an unjust justice system, killed as many of our young men and women are today while doing nothing wrong.

I imagine she would ask, “Who is going to protect me now?” “How will I once again walk through the marketplace without shame?” “Who will comfort me now?” “Who can I tell all my stories to?” “Who will I laugh with, dance with, cry with?” I imagine Mary thought, even now I can’t visit his tomb because someone has taken his body, the last vestige of my memory of our relationship has been stolen from me.

Families are weeping today. They have the same questions, the same concerns as this Mary of Magdala. But there is good news at the grave. For at the grave Jesus, the resurrected Jesus is standing there. In her grief she does not recognize him; to her he’s only another man who may know the whereabouts of the remains of her beloved Jesus. She doesn’t recognize him because her former relationship has been severed. She doesn’t recognize him because he has come to her in his resurrected body, in a way she has never seen him before.

He asks here, “Dear woman, why are you crying?” “Who are you looking for?” She looked at him hoping he had been the man who moved the body of Jesus and that he would certainly tell her where the new gravesite was because she had no idea that Jesus had resurrected from the grave. She wanted to continue mourning her loss, but standing before her was good news at the grave.

He called her name in a way that only he had called it before, “Mary” he said with love and boldness. Immediately, she recognized his voice. “Teacher,” she responded as her heart leaped with joy! She hugged him so tight he thought she would never let him go. “Wait, don’t cling to me like this,” he cautioned. “I’ve still got to ascend into heaven; I’ve not been to see my our heavenly Father yet.” Yes, there was good news at the grave.

Move 2
Jesus wanted Mary to know that the old relationship they had was over. That relationship had limitations; this new relationship was eternal. Everything had changed at the grave. Life had conquered death. Jesus had been buried, but the Christ had arisen. Weakness had been put in the tomb; but strength had arisen. A man had been buried; but God had arisen. The shackles of sin and death had been forever broken, forever demolished, forever loosed and the power taken away.

Jesus told Mary, “Go find the others and tell them I’m going to see my God and your God. Remind them Mary, that I said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”_

Yes, the good news on that day and this day is that Jesus is at every gravesite. The Bible declares, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”_ Death lurks in the shadows looking for an occasion to strike as if death had the last word. Death does not. For the day is coming and now is where we will rejoice “

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”_ Yes, death lurks in the shadows but the light of Jesus obliterates the sting of death. There is power in Jesus to brighten every midnight hour and every dawn of each new day. In Jesus there is comfort for your grief and comfort for your tomorrow.

Mary discovered Jesus was there at the gravesite. Mary discovered that Jesus had power over death. You too can discover the same thing today. You like Mary can refuse to allow death to consume you in grief. You can respond because you have hope.

For truly the bible declares, “14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.”_

What the Resurrection Means to Me

Image“I wish I could do it all over again;” “I wish I could take it back.”  These phrases depict some of the times in my life when I have hurt, insulted, or denigrated someone.   When I have said or did someone wrong, my heart’s cry is to turn the tables around, push the rewind button, start over.  Often, I can’t. Redemption escapes me. There is no way to make what I did wrong, right. “I’m sorry” does not clear my conscience and alleviate the remorse I feel.

Yet, I have found hope in the resurrection.  The resurrection provides forgiveness, reassurance, and transformation.  The story of the Passion of Christ offers all who have found themselves in situations which are unredeemable, hope and healing.  Through the resurrection story, I realize the great lengths God went through to provide forgiveness in places where forgiveness by people could not penetrate.  In the depth of my soul, the forgiveness found in Jesus travels so that I can once again operate in peace and soundness of mind and spirit.  

This gives me reassurance that all hope is not lost when sins against humanity cannot be repaired.  God reassures me through forgiveness that God is with me and that God still loves me.  I can begin again; even when I deny Christ, desert Christ’s teachings, or distance myself from the Christian faith, I can return to the cross and find forgiveness and reassurance.

Finally, the resurrection provides transformation; I am changed from the inside out.  As John Wesley aptly spoke, “My heart is strangely warmed.”  An encounter with Jesus and his Passion Story opens my heart to God and provides insight I could not have attained otherwise.  I can be changed; I do not have to remain the same.  God is a God of another chance; God’s mercy is limitless and his grace is aboundingly efficacious.

Doors to a new life are opened for me through the resurrection; the resurrection means forgiveness, assurance, and transformation to me.