I was tempted this week to talk about the Trump indictment and the world that we live in that is spinning out of control.
Then a friend reminded me that when we wake up and begin our day, we should start with God’s truth–not the wacky earthly news.
It’s also Holy Week. Here’s what you really need to know.
I Am The Resurrection and the Life
Some of the greatest words Jesus ever spoke are found in John 11:25, 26:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Do we, really?
I met David Bryant in the early 1990s when I joined the National Prayer Committee. In 1993, he helped us with a state-wide thrust called Washington Awakening by leading eight concerts of prayer in major WA cities during the month of October.
David later became a major spokesman for Jesus’ incomparable supremacy in our lives and our need for a “Christ Awakening” in the Church.
Here is his take on the wonder of the Resurrection (slightly modified for brevity).
The Ten Truths About Jesus’ Resurrection That We Don’t Talk About Enough
By David Bryant
I gave my life to Christ in a graveyard. That’s why “resurrection” has always been on my mind since the day I was born again.
I was at college when I first met truly committed Christians. Their witness of the gospel culminated for me late one November afternoon while sitting on a tombstone in a two-hundred- year-old cemetery adjacent to our campus. There—on that day, in that place, at that grave—I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I like to say, “At that moment, I came alive among the dead!”
Since then, I’ve read a lot and prayed a lot about the impact of Jesus’ resurrection that transfers us from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). . . Being in union with the risen, reigning Savior allows me to live each day as if I had already entered into the final “Resurrection” that awaits all who belong to him.
Most Christians rarely hear or talk about many of these glorious truths surrounding Jesus’ exit from the tomb, except on Easter Sunday. As a result, our walk with God’s Son remains unnecessarily impoverished and regularly defeated.
I’ve summed up ten powerful truths that could prove to be stirring and challenging for many Jesus followers today.
First, the total number of New Testament passages concerning Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming. It nearly equals the combined total of passages that are specifically focused on his incarnation, crucifixion, and ascension. This does not mean his resurrection is more important; all four dimensions of who Christ is for us remain forever inseparable. But clearly, in the preaching of Acts and the teachings of the epistles — even in Jesus’ earthly ministry — the Resurrection forms the dominant theme. It is pervasive.
Second, his resurrection provided the turning point in his saving ministry to the world. He stepped forth from the grave no longer regarded as a Son and Savior of weakness, humility, lowliness, and agony. Today he is the revered Son and Savior of power and sovereignty, of majesty and victory. The servant of all became the greatest of all. Going down, he took our degradation with him; then he rose up, bringing all who will ever be redeemed with him.
Third, Jesus’ resurrection prepared the way for his ascension and his current reign. It set the stage for his ultimate vindication and validation when forty days later, he was enthroned at the Father’s right hand. His resurrection was the prelude to his coronation — that impending moment when the Lamb who was slain would take his place at the center of the Throne (Revelation 5).
Fourth, this kind of resurrection life was totally nonexistent before Christ’s triumph. We might call his resurrection a re-creation. It was the unveiling of a wholly unprecedented expression of life never before witnessed in the universe, the first installment of the thoroughly renovated heaven and earth promised us in the age to come. Even Lazarus, temporarily brought back from the grave (John 11), finally had to die again. However, Jesus didn’t come back to life like that. Rather, he died and three days later entered into a wholly unprecedented expression of life never before witnessed in the universe — a creation to be sure, but also not of this creation.
Fifth, Jesus’ victory already encompasses “the new order of the ages.” He embodies the promised new order, the anticipated new beginning. He is the prophesied “inbreaking” of the age to come. We can catch a glimpse of it right now as we grow to know more about our risen Lord. The old order of things — corrupted and depraved, filled with evil, sin, suffering, and death’s doom — has now been replaced by a new creation. It is a brand-new beginning able to produce the fruits of health, wholeness, holiness, righteousness, godliness, truth, and unfailing love.
Sixth, he is the “first installment” of the renovated heaven and earth that lies just ahead. Jesus alive forevermore is the prototype of what we shall become. On the day we see him, we shall be like him when we see him as he is (1 John 3). When he comes, he will transform our mortal bodies into copies of his glorious body (Philippians 3).
Seventh, Jesus’ resurrection triumph has vanquished our deadliest foes: sin, evil, Satan, and death. At the same time, he has delivered his people from the judgment to come. By overcoming death, he showed us how, through himself, we also will ultimately overcome all the misery, pain, futility, decay, division, disruption, and disaster that poisons this old creation. Thus, all the deadly desperations of our existence have proven to be far less potent than Christ’s unsurpassed victory on our behalf.
Eighth, because Christ arose, we have been born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1). No longer do any of us need to look for the living among the dead (Luke 24). For Christ, death is past; it lies behind him, never to be faced again. Even so, his resurrection encourages anticipation of — even more, direct participation in — his indestructible kind of life (Hebrews 9), ordained by God to bring about, in the end, the renewal and recapitulation of the entire universe.
Ninth, as a pioneer of the new creation, Jesus calls us into his life, which is wild and exhilarating and unpredictable. Russell Moore wrote about this in 2012:
“There’s a cemetery plot, somewhere out there, waiting for your corpse. Regardless of who and where you are, you will one day be quite dead. . . The universe rolls around us frenetically, and in every single case, it eventually kills us. . . . [But] Jesus doesn’t promise us an ‘afterlife.’ He promises us life — and that everlasting. In his resurrection, Jesus has gone before us as a pioneer of the new creation. Jesus calls us into his life, which is wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.”
Tenth, therefore, the Resurrection is the supreme truth the Church must claim and proclaim for all to hear.
Christians rarely focus on throughout the rest of the year apart from Eastertime. But the fact is this: “Jesus lives, and so shall I.”
That ought to fill our hearts with praises to the Father, in the power of the Spirit, every day we breathe.
* * *
Let’s take our eyes off the negative news and open them in wonder to the good.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life.