I had the honor of speaking at our sunrise service yesterday. Here are some thoughts that I shared as we celebrated the empty tomb together.
As our pastor has been preaching through portions of Acts in anticipation of Easter, I have once again realized just how central the resurrection of Jesus was to the message the Apostles first proclaimed. In fact, the resurrection served as the context for everything communicated to the church in the New Testament. I, on the other hand, have come to realize that I only seem to think of the power of the resurrection as something occurring only on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. If I apply it to my own life at all, perhaps just in the context of the day God saved me. However, over the past week or so, I have been reminded that the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead is the same power that exists within every believer today!
As I have thought about that word power, I wanted to do a little word search. Although I knew that the New Testament authors used that word with frequency, I was surprised to see the length of the list of New Testament passages containing it, mostly in an effort to encourage believers! I began to read through those passages, but this time with the resurrection serving as primary context. I realized that with every usage, God has provided two truths to coincide with each encouragement. First, God has demonstrated what kind of power the New Testament speaks of most vividly in the resurrection. Second, the same Spirit that resurrected Jesus is the same Spirit God has placed within those who are in Christ. If these two truths created the context for every encouragement New Testament believers received, then we must strive to read the New Testament in the same context!
In light of that, I sat down and made a list. Perhaps as you read it, you will be encouraged as I have been in thinking through the power made available to us through the gospel!
The power that resurrected Jesus from the dead is the same power that…
…has opened our blind eyes to the truth of the gospel
…has broken the power of our bondage to sin
…has raised us to walk in newness of life in Christ
…empowers us now to walk in the fruit of the Spirit
…empowers our witness and draws lost people to God and his salvation
….empowers us to fight against the principalities and powers of the evil one
…fills even the most mundane details of our life with purpose
…fills us with truth and leads us in the truth
…fills us with hope and joy despite the circumstances we face
…continues to transform us through sanctification
…emboldens us, even in the face of persecution, to boldly proclaim the gospel
…can bring restoration to broken relationships
…can overcome parents’ selfish hearts and enable them to raise their children faithfully and in grace and truth
…can free a person from the brutal cycle of recurring sin
…can release a person from addiction
…can heal a cold, fractured marriage
…can awaken the heart of a wandering child, calling them home
…can enable us to forgive, no matter how deep the hurt
…can remove the blinders from the eyes of lost loved ones for whom believers have prayed
…can empower us to live lives that display the transformation that only God can bring
…will one day do away completely with this body of sin, causing us to enter into our eternal glorification
What about you? How would you add to this list? Share below in the comment section! Remember to read the encouragement of the New Testament in light of the power of the Resurrection, not only at Easter time, but all the time!