The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ if you look at it and live life through it, is a lens that changes the way we see everything. It changes not just how to view death, but how to view each and every day of life.
It is this story, this true story that tells us so much about God.
Jesus’ resurrection tells us that God is a Commitment Keeper.
Jesus, before He was crucified, said to the religious leaders, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Here He was not referring to a building, but to Himself. They did kill Him and He was raised in three days. God kept His word.
Jesus, before He was crucified, told His followers to go to Galilee, as He would meet them there after He had been killed. Jesus did exactly that despite the skeptics. God kept His word.
Jesus brought a dead girl back to life. Quieted a furious storm. Fed thousands with a small amount of food. Called people to follow Him not based on their resumes but their willingness. Jesus did such things and countless others, like dying on the cross, because He keeps his word, despite consequences, hatred, or even doubt.
Aside from being a Commitment Keeper, God is an Assumption Breaker.
Jesus sure looked dead on Friday. The assumption was that His death was a permanent done deal. Wrong assumption. His death was not the end of it all but a glorious truth-shattering new beginning. Yes, Jesus broke assumptions.
People assumed a woman whose life was broken was beyond starting over. Wrong. She met Jesus and her whole life changed. People assumed Mary Magdalene’s mental struggles were insurmountable. Wrong again.
Or that the child who was critically ill could not be healed. Or that a man who had made his living in a dishonest way could not change. Or that enemies should be hated. Or that bad people aren’t capable of profound transformations. Or that 12 people can’t change the world. Wrong, wrong, wrong again.
God is an Assumption Breaker. But God is also a Power Generator.
Listen to what Paul has to say about this in his letter to the people living in Ephesus. “How very great is God’s power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which God used when He raised Christ from death.”
Talk about power. The same power God used to raise Jesus from the dead is within us. God’s power is within us. We have God given power to overcome adversity. God-given strength to keep pushing on through. God given energy to go on when we want to give up.
This is not magical power. It is not power for self-serving purposes. It is the very presence of God given to us who believe as a gift from God for living right now. When the power of self-help runs out, God says turn to the unlimited well of His power.
God is a power generator, but God is also a Life Giving Healer.
If you look at the life of Jesus, one thing He did was heal people. Not only from physical diseases, but from the crippling effects of mistaken views and ways of looking at things. He healed people from attitudes that were life-diminishing, perspectives that were confining, and outlooks that were limiting.
He healed people in a vast array of ways, and I believe that the passionate healing nature of God continues, even though we sometimes can’t see it. And if God brought about new life for Jesus through his resurrection, God will certainly heal us from the consequences of death in the same way.
This is why Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” And why Paul wrote, “Nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot.”
The bottom line. Death is not the end of existence, it is a doorway into a reality that already envelops and surrounds us right now. God is the ultimate life giver. Because of Christ’s death and bodily resurrection, our lives are eternal, even though they will morph and change in wondrous ways when we die.
God is an amazing, passionate healer. But God is also a Bottom Line Clarifier.
Over the last 20 years in ministry, I’ve learned some things that have not been easy to look at. I understand why so many who are not Christian have a problem with Christians. I get why religion is often a root problem in so many conflicts within families, friendships, communities and nations. I grasp why lots of people who go into ministry don’t last long in the vocation. Jesus understood all of this and in part He came among us to remind us of something.
Something not everyone likes to hear. That something. At its core, our walk with Jesus is not about learning to be a better person, or learning to do more things right, or gaining the ability to think properly. Christianity is not about learning to feel good enough, it is about learning to feel loved enough and to live life reciprocating God’s love.
Jesus said, all the scriptures, all the laws, everything every great prophet said, can be summed up with one word. Love. Loving God with all our hearts, minds, strength, and souls, and loving all other people through action.
Jesus rose from the grave not only to free us from the fear of death, but to free us to risk everything for love. And when we learn our walk with Jesus is about love far more than being right, then we are liberated not just from the grave, but from a world that pushes us into divisive self-serving corners of self-righteousness.
The Jesus movement, of which we are a part, is not a movement of right thinking, but of unbounded loving. And Jesus went to the cross and rose from the dead precisely to show us this truth.