In this time of uncertainty, it is comforting to know that there is One who is entirely certain. He is the author and sustainer of life. He is the great conqueror of death. No one knew this anymore fully than the Apostle Paul who faced perils far more severe than us. And listen to what he says is his deepest desire….“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.” – Philippians 3:10
There is nothing more important to the Gospel than Jesus’ resurrection. As those in Christ, we celebrate His incarnation. We seek to obey His teachings. We desire to emulate His service. We are forgiven at the cross. But surely it’s at the empty tomb where our faith is ignited, as we see the full reality of Christ’s birth, life, and death. It’s through the resurrection that God’s plan of salvation is displayed in all its glory.
Because the resurrection of Jesus is so central to our salvation, it is hard to think of a single aspect of our worship, our Christian life, our doctrine, without connecting it to the resurrection. As His disciples, everything we do and believe is shaped by the power of the resurrection. Why do we encourage service and sacrifice to others? Why do we sing, pray, and listen to the Word of God on Sunday mornings? There are lots of reasons. Lots of things influence our faith, doctrine, and practice, but the resurrection of Jesus dominates them all. Because He rose from the dead, our whole lives are made new.
This is true, not only for us as part of the Christian faith, but also for each of us individually, and for the body of Christ at Hebron as well. The resurrection power of God flows through all we do and believe. Just as an example, consider:
The Power of the Resurrection: From Death to Life
We all know the truth—there is no avoiding death (oh, yeah, and taxes). Almost everyone, of any age, immediately begins to grapple with the reality of death. Of course, we do what we can to avoid thinking of it. We fight hard to put off the inevitability of it, but sooner or later (unless Christ comes first), death will claim us all. I am not trying to be morbid here. Nor am I simply trying to state the obvious. The resurrection of Jesus reminds us of the truth: death is the consequence of our sin. The universality of our rejection of God has led to the universality of death as the wages of that sin. What a power is death! It will eventually get us all—no avoiding it, no hiding, no exception.
And yet, there is a greater power, the power of the resurrection! Even as powerful and determined as death is, the resurrection overcomes it! And, overcomes it completely, not just sort of beats it, but totally conquers it. Jesus is victorious over it! And so shall we be. His victory is ours. We too will share in the fullness of His resurrection when all believers will be bodily raised to life again at the last day. This past year we have had to say goodbye to dear loved ones, yet that power which raised Jesus from the dead remains at work, bringing all God’s people to Himself. Thus, we celebrate, not only Jesus’ resurrection, but our future resurrection as well. Our loved ones are not lost. Surely we will yet worship with them in the coming Kingdom of our Lord—raised from the dead in His name.
The Power of the Resurrection: A Transformed Life
Jesus has been raised from the dead. And with His resurrection we can not only look forward to our own resurrection, but we even now experience the blessings of that resurrection. Right now, the power that will one day raise each of us is now at work in us.
We are being changed! We are no longer what we were! We are being sanctified, made holy through Christ. The power of the resurrection courses through us now, as individuals, and as a church body. And He sets a task before us—the task to spread God’s Word throughout Penn Hills and beyond. It is the task of glorifying our Lord in every way. It is the task of being filled with the power which emptied Christ’s tomb.
The Power of the Resurrection: Life Amidst Darkness
Finally, consider this—the same power that overcame the crucifixion of Jesus enables us to live faithful lives in this broken and worried world. There is no doubt that suffering exists; no doubt that evil is present in shocking ways; no doubt that unbelief, injustice, wickedness, and a disregard for all things holy surround us every day. Hebron Church is called to be light in the darkness, a city of righteousness on a hill so that all may see. The Coronavirus epidemic only highlights the reality of our call.
God is at work transforming us, molding us, and directing us to serve Him—not safely cocooned away from evil, but right in the midst of it all. And this is possible because we do not go into this broken world alone, but we go with the life-giving, resurrected Lord, transforming us so that we might be a blessing to others. We do not act through our own power or strength. We are dependent on Jesus. And, in so doing, we are dependent upon the greatest expression of the power of our Lord—the power over death and sin and evil itself: The Power of the Resurrection!
He was raised, and we all will be raised—to the praise of His glory!