Jon Browning, D.D.: The power of the resurrection
Easter. For most of the world it has meant colorful eggs, bunnies, pretty dresses, candy-filled baskets, and the first of two Sundays in a year people go to church. Today, the spiritual meaning of Easter has almost faded completely from our thoughts. As a child, I enjoyed the fun things pertaining to Easter, but it was well known to my family the sacredness of the most pertinent and life-changing truth the day celebrates: The power of Christ’s resurrection.
When St. Paul states in Philippians 3:10 that it is his desire to know the power of the Resurrection, what should this mean to you and me? The resurrection is the one nail upon which all Christianity hangs. No resurrection = No hope of eternal life. Jesus rose from the dead. He did not swoon, nor was He stolen from the grave. Jesus told Pontius Pilate no man takes away the Son of Man’s life and that when it was to be raised, Christ would raise it Himself, for He is God.
Here is the reason why this day is so important and is so conspicuously covered up. At Calvary, the Devil lost everything, and that was sealed on Easter morning. Jesus raised Himself from the dead. No other figure of religion did that. His resurrection changed the world. This resurrection power does not symbolize, it exemplifies these things that are most important to you.
First, in this power, our sinful condemnation was abolished. Didn’t the cross do this? Yes; however, if Jesus died never to rise again, He would not be victorious over sin, and that same sin would spring up again like a new weed and finish us off in the end. It wasn’t enough to die for our sins only; rather, it was necessary the curse of sin be put away in His victorious life. Sin brings death, physical and spiritual. Christ brings life to the same.
Second, by this power, our lives are transformed. You can try to act as a Christian should, but you will fail miserably. We cannot live the transformed life ourselves; if we could, Christ died in vain. Christians still sin, but the condemnation for that sin, as well as the desire to remain in sin, has been done away with. Christ has to transform us from the inside out, and the only way it can be done is by putting to death the old life of waste and taking on the new life of Christ, which leads to glory. When we receive Him, this life-filled power is placed in us. You cannot be good enough to go to Heaven. You cannot be good enough to make a lasting difference on earth. No man can renew his life. Only Christ can; only Christ will. If you want to live a transformed life, Christ’s resurrection power is the transforming agent.
Lastly, by this power our Home is secured. Not everyone who dies goes to Heaven, as popular media would have you believe. The one who is in Heaven later is the one who trusts Christ now. St. Peter will not be at the pearly gates giving you an entrance exam shortly after your death. If you are in Heaven, the power of the resurrection, paid for with Christ’s blood, is your guarantee. When you die and you’re not in Heaven, you never will be. If you’re in Heaven, you won’t be cast out. It’s all because of Jesus that you’re there and the trust you have placed in His death, burial and resurrection.
In conclusion, this power is not lightning bolts or supernatural whirlwinds at your command. This power I speak of, dear reader, is the indwelling presence of God. When spring flowers come up and bloom after the dead of winter; that is the picture of Christ in you. He came to rescue you from the fate of Hell that will come upon all mankind that will not receive Him. It’s not about religion, being baptized or about giving charitable gifts or any good works; all that is man’s power. Christ’s life is the power of the resurrection. Will you receive this power? He wants you to have it. It’s yours forever for the asking. He did this just for you.