He is Risen!
The Passion of the Christ drew record audiences when it was released in 2004 and, even today, a spiritual hunger persists in our increasingly secularized culture.
Easter is upon us and the message of the cross and the open tomb are destined to be commercialized and corrupted. Yet, God’s Word will prevail and His will be accomplished. The cross and the risen Christ prove His power and His love, just as they demonstrate God’s commitment to those who will be with Him in Paradise.
Life & Liberty
The words of John 3:16 speak of salvation and eternal life: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” – yes, Jesus, the Son of God, was given (sacrificed) because of God’s love. Continuing, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
That is the essence of the gospel and Easter is the proof.
For believers, God gives eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection vanquished death and, when we are spiritually born again, we are given eternal life. We are joined with Christ in newness of life and God’s Holy Spirit inhabits us.
Death no longer has dominion over us. Life is triumphant! Along with life, God gives us liberty. We are freed from sin, which also no longer has dominion over us. While we will sin, we are no longer slaves to sin. God’s Spirit within nurtures us and heals us.
In our darkest hours – whether external circumstances or internal battles – God provides hope and healing. Our hearts and souls are resurrected in Christ.
Nicol Sponberg’s song, Resurrection, is hauntingly poignant and peculiarly powerful. It speaks of our translation from darkness to life, the renewal (or resurrection) of our lives. The chorus reads:
Here I am at the end, I’m in need of resurrection.
Only You can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead.
What I’ve lost to the world, what seems far beyond redemption,
You can take the pieces in Your hand, and make me whole again, again.
This modern-day psalmist expresses confidence in the Lord of life and the only One who can resurrect her life, who can make her (and us) whole and complete.
Power & Purpose
Along with life and liberty, God provides power and purpose. Jesus conquered death that we might live and He has given us liberty in that life – liberty to grow and mature and become more like Him. We are to emulate Jesus, who empowers us to do so. In my sermon, “Living the Resurrected Life,” I addressed our dependence upon the One who alone can work His will in our lives and empower us to bear His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. With that power, as we grow to maturity in Christ, He calls us to proclaim the gospel, known as the “Great Commission.”
The power of the Easter message is unstoppable, as is the One who accomplished it. “It is finished!”
We no longer need fear death or the dangers we face in this life. We are freed from ourselves and given a new life. In the dark valleys of our lives, Jesus again resurrects us, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. He empowers us to seek and do His will, which includes spiritual growth and evangelism.
Life. Liberty. Power. Purpose. …
Easter points us to Jesus, to what He accomplished in the past, to what He accomplishes every day, and to our future with Him in Paradise. (Jesus called it Paradise for a reason.) As we eagerly await our entrance into His presence, let us remember the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).”
One of my favorite songs, Selah’s All My Tears, is irresistibly exuberant and triumphant. It rejoices in knowing Jesus annihilated death and that at the end of this life we will be with Him for eternity. With confident faith, it beautifully anticipates our future home, where there will be no more tears and sorrows. Here is a sampling of lyrics:
When I die don’t cry for me
In my father’s arms I’ll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I’ll be whole
It don’t matter where you bury me
I’ll be home and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away
So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to Him
Who will raise the dead again