All Posts Tagged: resurrection

Easter – It is Finished!

 

When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.”
And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
John 19:30
 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise,
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb. 
On the way they were asking each other,
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone,
which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man
clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side.
The women were shocked,
but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed.
You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
Look, this is where they laid his body.
Mark 16:1-6
Our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die;
our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
! Corinthians 15:54-57
Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands
and millions of angels around the throne.

And they sang in a mighty chorus:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
    to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
    belong to the one sitting on the throne
    and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Revelation 5:11-13

 

 

 

Easter Impact – Part 4

But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 15:57


The impact of EASTER is Energy.

The impact of EASTER is Attitude.

The impact of EASTER is Success!


SUCCESS
! Millions of books have been sold on this subject. For example, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has sold over 70 million copies since 1928. Peter Kreeft once made a humorous comment about the plethora of books on sex. “
The fact that there are thousands of ‘how to do it’ books on the subject does not mean that we know how; in fact, it means the opposite. It’s when everybody’s pipes are leaking that people buy books on plumbing!” This, I believe, is the reality about topic of success.

Everybody wants to know how to do success‘. However, success is not primarily about DOING! According to Jesus it’s about BEING!” “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way to your true self. What good would it DO to get everything you want and lose YOU, the real you?” (Mark 8:34-37) In other words, in the process of doing the secrets of success one can lose one’s real self. Elvis Presley, Whitney Houstin, Prince, Robin Williams, Cobain, Eastman, Van Gogh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Virginia Woolf, and my friend – the list is endless …  creatively successful people who “cashed it in”! I shall attempt no commentary except to say this: in all their DOING they didn’t find peace with their BEING. If that seems simplistic to you, take it from one who knows.

John Calvin described this world as a theatrum gloriae, a “dazzling theater” displaying God’s glorious works. Viewing the following exhibits in the Creator’s theater, ask yourself: how are these successful? If this is below your “pay grade”, you have my sympathy.


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Of course, I know they are JUST fish! That’s the point. Though they are subhuman, each in their extravagant BEING-NESS is a display of God’s handiwork. As such, each is victorious. Each is a SUCCESS! They ARE what the Creator intended them TO BE in his theater. 

Research has shown exactly what Jesus said. You can gain the whole world and lose YOUR-SELF! Merely DOING is a DEAD-end! Success (victory) is only found in uncovering who you ARE according to the Creator’s design. There is no greater expression of this than in Michelangelo’s graphic representation of the creation of Adam.

Easter means that the Creator is severely intent on resurrecting a new you built upon His original design. Short of that everything is but “smoke and fire” or, as Solomon said, “Emptiness!”

Look at the fish again. I’m absolutely serious! Have you discovered that YOU, not what you DO, are a masterpiece in the Creator’s theater? Easter success (victory) is to be discovered by uncovering the YOU that is available by virtue of Jesus’ resurrection.

Have you experienced the touch of the Creator’s finger on your life? It’s nothing less than the power of the resurrection? “The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make a brand-new creation.” (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God )

OK, a point of transparency! This is THE struggle of my 74 year old life! 

Easter NOW! – Part 1

Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!

This is the exuberate exclamation of Jesus’ followers during the Easter Season!

 

 

Do you have one of these? Though requiring a lawyer to decipher the legalese, the elementary components of a life insurance are unpretentious. After the policy is purchased the insured remits monthly payments to the insurance company. Though the policy may offer a sense of well-being in the present, the big benefit, a predetermined sum of money, is experienced only upon the death of the insured.

 

 

For most Christ-followers the resurrection is believed as illustrated above. On the cross Jesus purchased a “paid in fullLife Insurance Policy. “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”[1] Certainly the “Jesus Policy” offers a sense of comfort here and now. “In the Father’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again into a living hope, because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.”[2] But, the full impact of the policy is experienced in the future upon death. So, the historic creed of the Christian church affirms: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

Paul methodically explains the Life Insurance Policy in 1 Corinthians 15, his opus magnum about the resurrection. Curiously, Paul elsewhere reveals that, whereas this perspective is accurate, it is nonetheless woefully incomplete. So, throughout his writings he almost exclusively focuses on the impact of the resurrection for daily life here and now. This is the subject of our Easter exploration. The roadmap is as follows:

 >   Energy

Ephesians 1:18-19 I pray that God will give you spiritual insight to know how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

A   >   Attitude

Philippians 4:13 I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

S   >   Success

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

  >   Transformation

 2 Corinthians 3:18 All of us, all the time, we are being transformed to look like Jesus, with more and more of His shining-greatness. This change is from the Lord Who is the Spirit.

E   >   Excellence

1 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.

R   >   Rejoicing

Psalm 30:5 At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate.

Please join me as we explore the impact of Easter for the present day journey with Jesus!

[1] John 3:16 (CEV)

[2] 1 Peter 1:3 (NCV)

Snapshots of the Cross in the Old Testament—Jesus defeated Satan

serpentThe Lord God said to the serpent, “I will put open hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall fatally bruise your head, and you shall only bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a forty day period in which we have an opportunity to view the Cross and Resurrection through the lens of our brokenness and dis-ease. WARNING—“Like the cancer patient that refuses to acknowledge he has cancer and thus rejects all treatment, refusal to acknowledge our brokenness prevents us to be healed” (John Kelley).

During Lent I shall be presenting seven snapshots of the Cross from the Old Testament. My purpose is to deepen our understanding of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. Astonishingly, the Gospel is first announced in Genesis 3:14-15. Let’s examine the Good News in these words!

So, the serpent of ancient times, who is called the devil and Satan, was hurled down upon the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him” (Revelation 12:7-8). After Adam and Eve had been deceived by the serpent God addressed Satan: “I will put open hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.” Two facts are revealed. First, earth will be the battleground of the hostility. Second, history will be the record of the hostility. The word “ISIS” is more than ample evidence of these facts!

He shall fatally bruise your head, and you shall only bruise His heel.” Events from World War II illustrate these words. D-Day was when the Allied forces landed in Normandy and established a beachhead. The generals on both sides recognized that the outcome of the war would be decided on that fateful day. V-Day marked the surrender of the enemy and the Allies’ liberation of all of Europe. But between D-Day and V-Day there’d be many months of suffering and struggle. There’d be horrendous battles as the Allied armies, little by little, pushed back the Nazi forces.

Jesus fought (the Cross) and won (the Resurrection) the decisive battle, God’s D-Day: “God took our debt and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s Cross. In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin.” By defeating Satan’s power (sin and death) a beachhead of victory was established on earth. However, since the first Easter, Satan has engaged in a “scorched earth” policy, knowing that God’s V-Day, the return of Jesus, is coming—“I saw a new heaven and a new earth. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: ‘Now God’s home is with people! He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.’”

The “born again” experience

Martha, Mary and Lazarus were close friends of Jesus. Lazarus got sick “so the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one You love is sick’” (John 11:3). While Jesus traveled to the home, Lazarus died. Upon arrival Jesus consoled the grieving sisters after which, “still terribly upset, He went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ He said. Martha objected, ‘There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!’” After encouraging Martha, the stone was rolled away. “Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth” (John 11:38-44).

The story illustrates what it means to be “born again”—getting connected to Jesus! Like Lazarus we’re bound and wrapped in death. Furthermore, our spirits have decomposed to such a degree that, to put it bluntly, we stink! Into our darkness, depravity and death Jesus extends an invitation of grace: “COME OUT!”

Lazarus responded to the Word of Life. Slowly shuffling from the tomb, he wobbled his first steps in following Jesus. Note his condition. Lazarus’s spirit was alive but his soul and body were still bound in garments of death, a strange situation. Nonetheless, this is how we all begin following Jesus.

To Nicodemus Jesus said: “You must be born again. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God.”  Paul described the born again condition: Friends, I’m completely frustrated. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast.”

Here’s the point. One is born again upon responding to the call of Jesus. Connection person to Person is established. However, no matter what our chronological age, we are at that point infants in Christ. The best thing one can do is put on a giant Depends, proceed to the bathroom and look in the mirror and say: “This is who I am in Christ!”