Tuesday, April 3

Resurrection Week

"One day, there will be a great reversal of everything we're doing right now."

Pastor Chris said those words at Gwendolyn's graveside service, and it's honestly all that I can remember from his eulogy. It's all that I think of when I go by her grave, and whisper over her body - "One day, Gwenny! One day this will all be undone."

I love Easter. I love it more fully now because it is one day in our calendar year that the majority of our nation sets aside, whether they know it or not, to give glory to Christ's resurrection. Now I know that you can argue with me that Easter has pagan roots, or is now so commercialized that everyone just sees pastels, dyed eggs, bunnies and new clothes. And that may be true ... the Enemy always tries very hard to block out the reality of Christ. But he can't. And whether people acknowledge it or not, they intrinsically know that Easter has something to do with Jesus of Nazareth and an empty tomb. That's why there is a huge spike in church attendance on Easter and Christmas - because the unredeemed know that something about this holiday has to do with something bigger than them.

Sometimes I feel like the power of the Cross gets separated from the power of the Resurrection... that one is of more value than the other. In materialistic christianity, that's what we see, right? The Cross - cross paintings, cross jewelry, cross bumper stickers... I mean, have you ever seen someone wearing a circle meant to remind them of the rolled away stone? I know that until Gwendolyn fell asleep, I did not give much adoration to the Resurrected Lord; I simply acknowledged it as a byproduct of His sacrifice.

But I was completely wrong! (Surprise, surprise.) Have you read 1 Corinthians 15 lately? Because you should. It will change your Easter this year. In the chapter, Paul is arguing for the absolute necessity of Jesus being raised from the dead:

"And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died." 1 Corinthians 15:14-20

Can you imagine the disciples after Christ's crucifixion, waiting in the upper room, wondering if they were next? Wondering what the point was of the last three years of their life, following a man who they saw brutally beaten and dead before their eyes? Wondering what - if anything - they were supposed to do next? If Jesus had not been raised, there would be no Christianity. That's what Paul is saying in the above passage. He would've been exactly what the Pharisees wanted him to be - a great man who had done a lot of cool things, but still - a man. Dead. Done with. And they could've gone on with an empty religion, without genuine hope, continuing to try enjoy everything from life and avoid death at all costs because, "If there is no resurrection, 'Let's feast and drink - for tomorrow we die!' " (1 Corinthians 15:32)

But there IS resurrection! Christ chose to lay down his life and then pick it up again, on the authority given Him by God the Father (John 10:18). And because of that, death is not the final word for those who believe in Him. In fact, Jesus talks about it like we've "fallen asleep". Gwendolyn is asleep; but will one day wake in a new, physical body. 

I could probably go on and on. This has been my joy - the sustaining truth of Christ's atonement, and what IS to come. This releases me from fear. It releases me from mediocrity, and just as Christ's resurrection redefined the purpose of the lives of the disciples, it has redefined mine. 

I'm praying it will for you as well. Be encouraged! He lives. 

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