Today I want to introduce you to an old friend who was one of the first to welcome us as the new pastors in our small town. He was the pastor of a different church near by, and he and his adorable wife were completely gracious and helpful to us in those odd and crazy days. In fact, Rich is the person I called on a stormy day while Hubs was out of town because a scary looking pair of men were on my porch asking for money. We lived in a parsonage (house next to and owned by the church), and they had just been released from prison and knew that pastors are usually generous…but this pastor’s wife was only scared! Thanks for coming to my rescue Rich.
Nobody expected Easter. Nobody.
The secret disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, who took responsibility for burying Jesus’ body certainly didn’t. Nicodemus brought enough myrrh and aloes to the tomb to keep the smell of death at bay until the women arrived a few days later to embalm His body.
The women who brought embalming spices to the tomb the first day of the week didn’t have a clue Jesus would be alive when they arrived. After all, they were bringing EMBALMING SPICES! Hello! Even when confronted by the angels at the open and empty burial site, they remained distraught, believing someone had taken away His body (John 20:12-13).
The Romans and Jews who accused, sentenced and crucified Him surely didn’t expect Him to have the power to overcome death’s stranglehold. Pilate posted guards at Jesus’ tomb and sealed it only because the Jewish leaders convinced him that the disciples would deviously steal Jesus’ body and then declare Him risen from the dead (Matthew 27:62-66).
Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, James and John, along with most of the rest of the band of apostles were hiding away in an upper room. They likely expected to remain there until they figured out what their next move was. Two of them decided to leave town. Thomas went somewhere - I doubt we’ll ever know where. Even when the women returned with evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead, they dismissed their words as “nonsense” (Luke 24:11). Where was their head at?
Why wasn’t there at least one faith-driven apostle or follower who, with the same thrill a child has on Christmas morning, woke up “on the third day” to run to the tomb with the confident expectation of seeing Jesus triumphant over death – and then with unfettered joy and enthusiasm would have shouted at the top of his lungs, “I KNEW it! Jesus has risen from the dead, just like He said! I KNEW He would do it! I KNEW it?” But there wasn’t one. Not one.
Why not? It's because it wasn’t their orientation. They were oriented to death. Every other person they knew stayed dead. They saw the few exceptions when Jesus raised the widow’s son and Lazarus. But they knew that even those lived only to die again. And besides, who had the authority to raise Jesus from death? He couldn’t raise Himself. Or could he?
I’m too much like them, I’m afraid. My point of reference too easily defaults to despair when I am confronted with improbabilities and impossibilities. I fear powerlessness when I'm beyond my resources. I too often live “naturally” in the potential of the “supernatural."
I’m pretty much convinced I’m ready for the change, though. How about you?.
I’m going to suggest we adopt these few scriptural affirmations to reorient our thinking to live with the resurrected Jesus Christ.
I will not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). “The world” is the system that has left the authority of God and His supernatural power out of establishing values, making decisions, and determining purpose. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and alive in you and me, doesn't fit the world’s paradigm. Therefore, I reject its expectations and judgments.
I will accept my status before God . In His death and resurrection I am pardoned of all my failures, mistakes, rebellions and sins. I stand before Him clean and justified. I am His beloved child. Romans 4:25 states Jesus He was handed over to die because of our sins (forgiveness), and he was raised to life to make us right with God (justification) (NLT). I will accept my new identity.
I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Therefore, I will not hold back because of fear, obstacles or trying circumstances. The inspired prayer of Ephesians 1 asks that our eyes be open to personally experience the . . . “surpassing power that works within us who believe. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Eph. 1:18-20). I expect that prayer to be answered and that power to be realized in my life.
I will submit to His Lordship. The resurrection of Jesus Christ verifies His authority as the Son of God (Romans 1:4). I will orient my life around His purpose for my life and submit to whatever plan He considers me worthy of handling.
Pin It Like this? Don't forget to SHARE...