If He hadn’t Risen

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It’s such a churchy word: Resurrection.

Webster defines it this way:

Res·ur·rect

To restore to life. To raise from the dead. Bring back to life. To revive. To bring new vigor to. To regenerate, revitalize, breathe new life into, renew. To awaken, rejuvenate, stimulate, re-establish, relaunch, re-institute; renovate.

God defines it completely differently.

He defines resurrection as a person: Jesus!

His resurrection defines all future resurrections. By one man’s death and resurrection, all dead things can now find new life. He softens hard hearts and awakens dreams. He breathes life where hopes were resting in stagnant, dead waters. He replaces shame with radiance, turning orphans into daughters.

It’s just what He does.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

With Easter coming up in a few days, now more than ever, I’m completely caught up in the last few days of His life, tearing through the end of each gospel, desperate to hear the story.

Again and again and again.

I’m looking for the details I may have missed.

And He meets me there every time.

He reveals the new I was searching for. Every single time.

Like in Luke 23 when Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great and ruler of the Galileans) just “happened to be” in Jerusalem at the time and was eager to meet Jesus. He’d heard so much about what Jesus had been doing, just like everyone else in the area. He wanted to see a show. He wanted to be entertained with the miracles he’d heard about. But, Jesus remained silent. Antipas was clearly embarrassed and offended that Jesus refused to put on a show, so he mocked Him by placing a purple, elegant robe around Jesus’ shoulders and sending Him back to Pilate to be killed. The Word says that this one act healed the rift between Antipas and Pilate; their old hostilities were reconciled and they became good friends.

And they missed it.

They were so focused on themselves that they missed what was happening right in front of their eyes.

Let’s not miss this, friends!

Look closely. Listen with your whole being. Ask Him to help you see every detail.

Read the stories over and over. Read with a heart that’s ready to be changed. The last few chapters of each gospel tell the story of His final days (Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21, Acts 1.)

That’s the best part, though. They weren’t His final days. It was just the beginning.


Here’s what we need to know…

The resurrection actually happened.

I’m not sure how much clearer He could’ve said it, but still, the disciples just didn’t understand what He was talking about. He told them very plainly that He would be killed and would be raised from the dead 3 days later, yet still they mourned (and fled) when He went to the cross. (Matt 16:21) He revealed this to them at least three times before His death, but they still didn’t understand. Then, it happened. He actually died, His body was buried in a fresh, new tomb, and then three days later, He was gone. He did what He said He would all along. The gospels and the book of Acts record the time (at least 11 visits over 40 days) Jesus spent on earth with His friends and family after He rose from the dead. He continued to eat with them, laugh with them, walk through locked doors to freak them out (ha!), and even perform miracles before He ascended into Heaven. All of these things actually happened. Don’t let the separation of 2000 years convince your mind that it’s a nice story, but there’s no way it’s true.

without the resurrection, we’d have no hope.

Many men had died on a cross. That isn’t what made Jesus’ death significant. The difference is that no one else had ever walked out of a grave. No one else descended into Hell to submit the payment for every sin the world ever had or would commit. No one else resurrected into Heaven and then returned to give His closest friends the hope of Heaven! One of my favorite stories is found in Luke 24 where two of Jesus’ disciples were walking home from Jerusalem, deep in conversation about all that had taken place over the last few days. Jesus joined them on their walk, but just like Antipas and Pilate, they missed it. They had no clue it was Him. Jesus pretended not to know what they were talking about and they were shocked - like, how could you not know? The whole world knows this guy! Where’ve you been?? They’d lost all hope. They told him that they had their hopes up and today is the third day, but He isn’t here. He didn’t keep His word. Jesus then proceeds to tell them the entire story. He starts with the first book of the Bible and reveals every mystery. Every prophecy that pointed to the coming King. They invite this “stranger” over for dinner, and it was then that they finally remembered. Something about the way Jesus broke bread and thanked the Father triggered a memory within them. The Word says that we have this LIVING HOPE. By one man’s death and resurrection, we have a perfect inheritance “that can never perish, never be defiled, and never diminish. It is promised and preserved forever in the heavenly realm for you!” (1 Peter 1)

His resurrection is our resurrection (because his cross is our cross).

The Word is clear that we DIED to sin and all of its needs and desires the moment we believed in what happened on the cross and on the other side of the tomb. We don’t have to crucify Him over and over each day; His death that day and His resurrection three days later built the bridge for us to move into relationship with Him and the Father. Here are the words of Jesus Himself: “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep. For even if you were to gain all the wealth and power of this world with everything it could offer you—at the cost of your own life—what good would that be? And what could be more valuable to you than your own soul?” (Matt 16:24-28) And if we share in His death, the Word says that we’ll share that much more in His resurrection. He didn’t die just so we could experience Heaven. He died so that we’d experience life to the fullest; even NOW! What could possibly rob joy from our hearts when this revelation becomes alive in our hearts? (Romans 6:5) The Word says that Jesus’ resurrection is our resurrection, too. We can put our hope in this, friends! (Colossians 3:1-4) This is why we’re free to place our hope in Him and why we spend time thinking on heavenly things. We’re actually living in two places; we’re seated with Him right now in Heaven, while at the same time, busy at work telling as many people in this life about Him!


In Mark 15, we see one of the most tangible visuals of His lavish, abundant g r a c e.

Barabbas is convicted of murder and causing a riot in the city. And yet, he is freed. Literally the chains came off and he was sent home a free man. The crowd chanted loudly for Pilate to let Barabbas go and for Jesus to take his place. And not just to be imprisoned, but to be killed.

Pilate was just as shocked as we are today reading this account.

Jesus literally stood in the place of a criminal, even though He wasn’t guilty of one account of sin.

Hours later, He’d stand in the place for every single one of us.

For you and for me.


If He hadn’t risen, Jesus would’ve just been a nice guy. A smart prophet.

If He hadn’t risen, eternal life would be meaningless.

If He hadn’t risen, it would’ve all been for nothing, or worse, a lie.

If He hadn’t risen, all of His followers would’ve gone to their grave wondering why they’d wasted years of their adult life believing in a stranger who claimed to be the Son of God.

If He hadn’t risen, we’d have no hope and we’d still be waiting for a Savior.

BUT!!!

Because He rose, we know He is who He always said He was. (John 7:28-29)

Because He rose, eternal life is our reality and we are free to enjoy the fullness of life He has for us right now, today! (John 3)

Because He rose, we know the truth. (Matthew 20:17-19)

Because He rose, He appeared to His friends and family and refreshed their hope! (Luke 24:36-53)

Because He rose, we have this strong hope - like an anchor attached to the Mercy Seat in Heaven! (Hebrews 6:19)


“Resurrecting”

by Elevation Worship

 

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
Now at His feet we bow

The One who wore our sin and shame
Now robed in majesty
The radiance of perfect love
Now shines for all to see

Your name, Your name
Is victory
All praise, will rise
To Christ, our king

The fear that held us now gives way
To Him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me

Your name, Your name
Is victory
All praise, will rise
To Christ, our king

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me

The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Our God has robbed the grave (yes He has, yes He has)

Your name, Your name
Is victory
All praise, will rise
To Christ our king

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me

 
 
 

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I’m so glad you’re here, friend. I’m not sure how you found this post, but I continue to be amazed by the internets. It brings us together in such beautiful ways and reminds us that we’re more alike than different. More united than divided. Whether you spend a minute or an hour on this page, know that Jesus loves you like crazy.  Like CRAZY . I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. Would you let me know  here ?

I’m so glad you’re here, friend. I’m not sure how you found this post, but I continue to be amazed by the internets. It brings us together in such beautiful ways and reminds us that we’re more alike than different. More united than divided. Whether you spend a minute or an hour on this page, know that Jesus loves you like crazy. Like CRAZY. I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. Would you let me know here?

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