Here we are in one of my favorite times of year: Holy Week and the Easter Season! We’re privileged with front row seats to watch as spring brings us new life in flora and fauna, pointing us back to the One who is our Redeemer. I’d like to discuss with you this morning another theme related to Redemption: Resurrection.
The great strength of the gospel is the resurrection. Jesus conquered death once and for all. Therefore, we have hope – hope for a life beyond today. Our hope is in vain without the resurrection. We fill our churches, pulpits, and offspring with emptiness if it was only a lie. Paul says it well in 1 Corinthians 15: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:13-14, 19).
But the good news is that we place our hope in the One who is strong enough to defeat the grave. He does not treat us as our sins deserve but instead graciously extends us a life beyond what we could ever try to earn. Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. Take note here: this is not a mediocre or boring or “good luck out there” kind of life. Out of John 10:10 comes the statement of Jesus that He has come for us to have more than just plain old living.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NIV)
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (ESV & NASB)
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (KJV)
I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance (HCSB)
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (NLT)
Life to the fullest it can be. Resurrection is new life being breathed. God breathes of life in overload. Just as He first filled Adam’s nostrils with the breath of life, so He will rejuvenate us with the fresh breath of His Spirit.
A few years ago, Allison, Katrina, and I were in a small group studying Ezekiel and the dry bones as found in Ezekiel 37. We were struck by verse 9: ” Then he said to me, ‘Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again!”‘” We began to envision this image of the four winds rising from the corners of the earth to come and breathe. Allison began sketching out a painting. You see this painting – the breath beginning to swirl things into motion.
What does a breath of new air do? It fills us. It reshapes us into the image he intends. It gives us another chance. Paul writes in Ephesians 2: “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil.” Dead inside, compliant to the ways of the world, living as a hollow shell. The image of the dry bones is fitting. But now God (hey look – another “But God” phrase!) has made us alive with Christ. “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”
In a previous post, we discussed how redeeming involves some not so fun things, such as buying back what was once yours. Another such part of redeeming is the need for resuscitation. I don’t know about you, but I find myself in need of that fresh breath frequently. God keeps breathing life back into our tired, worn souls as many times as we need a fresh breath. I am humbled because He finds us worthwhile even in our lifeless state. Again He will breathe the breath of life into us.
How we so need that fresh breath of the Spirit upon us daily! Thanks be to God for allowing His Spirit to fall fresh each day.
Let us not forget the power of God that makes all of this possible. We too, along with Paul, may boldly declare, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:7). The Greek word for “power” is “dunamis,” which sounds a lot like “dynamite” (and oddly enough, a little like “diamond”). Try that out in the above verse.” It’s nothing to snivel at.
See, being resuscitated is more than merely a new perspective or a second wind. It is joining Christ’s death and resurrection. And indeed, we can join in this dynamite resurrection because Jesus conquered sin and death.
Soak in the beauty of the end of 1 Corinthians 15 with me:
When our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
How exciting is that? Death is SWALLOWED up! We no longer need to fear death; we are promised life – life in abundance, life forever.
It is our prayer at VIP that you will be able to experience the resurrection power of Jesus and allow His Spirit to resuscitate you. Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday is a beautiful time to say a most powerful “YES!” to the One who loved you enough to endure the cross and conquer the grave. This is an adventure of life to the very fullest it can be toward the greatest purpose: knowing Christ Jesus our Savior even deeper.
Be sure to check out this song buzzing with life by Remedy Drive appropriately named “Resuscitate Me.” I personally love blasting it on my car stereo driving with the windows down in the spring. No shame. “Resuscitate Me” reminds me that it is not too late for that essential breath of life.
How will you live your newly resuscitated life?