He is Risen….!
Last week was Easter, normally a joyous time, but what an unusual and sad season. We celebrate our risen Lord Jesus, with a large shadow over our celebration in 2020.
This year everything is different. The familiar traditions have been set aside, because there is something more pressing. I am not saying that traditions are necessarily bad, but it is good for us to stop and pause and look at the real reason for the celebration, the resurrection of our Lord and savior.
Jesus disrupted traditions all the time, even good ones. The time and season of his crucifixion was the Passover week, one of the most important festivals and traditions on the Jewish calendar. It was a busy time in Jerusalem, as people were gathering and feasting to remember the time when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt.
The fact that Jesus was crucified during Passover is obvious and crucial. Jesus the spotless lamb of God who was sacrificed for the sins of the world, so that we who place our faith in him, will be saved for eternity.
The Passover was a huge celebration, and Jesus disrupted it. On Palm Sunday, he came into Jerusalem with tremendous fanfare. The following day he turned over tables in the temple and disrupted the festivities. The trial and subsequent crucifixion of Jesus caused a major disruption to life in Jerusalem. Then there were the earthquakes, the temple veil being torn, sudden darkness and even dead people coming alive and walking through the streets (Matthew 27).
Jesus was disrupting traditions; he was establishing the New Covenant.
Jesus is still upsetting traditions and challenging authority today.
The chief priests and the pharisees wanted Jesus dead because he was a threat to their power.
Satan wanted Jesus dead because he was a threat to his domain and influence on the earth.
But Jesus did the unexpected. He rose from the dead and defeated Satan’s plan!
The primary message of the early church was the resurrection, which became the hope and foundation for the church.
A few weeks ago we looked at Ephesians 1:18-21, and the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus: “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
Someone being raised from the dead is pretty significant, and there is certainly a lot of power involved in raising someone from the dead. But Jesus raised people from the dead and it didn’t seem like a tremendous display of cosmic power. He raised Jairus’ daughter by speaking two words, “Talitha koumi”, which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” (Mark 5).
Jesus raised Lazarus by calling into the tomb for him to come out (John 11).
But Jesus was no ordinary resurrection, if there is such a thing. When Jesus died, Satan and his demonic legions, celebrated their assumed victory. The messiah, the second person of the Trinity had failed in his quest to come and establish the kingdom of God on the earth.
Satan thought he had won the victory and he was going to use every ounce of power at his disposal to ensure that Jesus remained in that tomb. Satan planned to hold Jesus captive.
This was the battle for the ages, the culmination of all of Satan’s evil plans and God’s redemptive plan.
God destroyed Satan’s plans with a never before seen display of His matchless power. Jesus was raised back to life by the greatest display of power in all of History. And all of creation felt the impact. There was an earthquake when Jesus died and an earthquake when Jesus rose from the dead. All of creation participated in the war that took place in the spiritual realm when Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead.
More than that, everyone who has ever been raised from the dead, has died again. But Jesus was raised in an imperishable and eternal body, the eternal body that we will all get one day
Jesus was raised to life; he took on a resurrected body and has been given all authority as he said in Matthew 28:18.
Ephesians 1 says that this power is working in us, do we fully grasp and experience this power?
As followers of Jesus, we have aligned ourselves with Christ, we have been born again, into a new life with new power as we read in Colossians 2:12, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
In 1 Peter 1:3-5, we read that this salvation power is also the power that keeps us until Jesus comes again. This is the power of the resurrection working in those who follow Jesus.
Do you know the power of the resurrection in your life?
I am not asking if you are a Christian. I want to know, if you know the power of the resurrection in your life, the saving power of God in your life on a daily basis.
In these unprecedented days, you cannot go about life as usual. As followers of Jesus we need to know and experience the power of the resurrected Lord in our lives.
This is the kind of power that will enable you to thrive in this season, overcoming fear and doubt. Power to help you make the right decisions, and to display God’s glory to those you encounter.
Do you know the power of the resurrection in your life?
Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal Ephesians 1:18-21 in your life.