The celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection last Sunday was meant to be the first of many new beginnings in the unfolding story of God’s Kingdom. Rather than letting Easter Sunday come and go, what if we linger in the story a little longer and consider where it finds each of us today?
What do the events we celebrated last week really mean …
for the world, for your community, for your family, for you personally?
What died with Jesus and was given new life in you?
Jesus’ death and resurrection was nothing less than a heart-soul-mind-being revolution. His body broken, His blood poured out, He courageously faced death head on. That He died out of love for you and me is amazing. That He burst forth through the grave to claim victory over death is nothing short of earth-shattering. Jesus’ death and resurrection changed everything. With honest hearts and wide-open eyes, we see Jesus’ resurrection story has left a mark on every story ever written and told since.
Consider how many of these resurrection storylines have intersected your own story:
Death doesn’t have the final word anymore.
The hopeless find hope.
Too-good-to-be-true news is actually true—and the good news spreads.
Misfits find they belong and have purpose.
Love overshadows hate and embraces the unlovable.
Voices of loving resistance cannot be buried by oppressors. They become seeds.
Forgiveness and compassion outlast a verdict of death.
A courage and willingness to give life gives life to countless others.
Against all odds, light consumes darkness, life conquers death. Love wins.
For those willing to believe in and daily follow the One who conquered death, these revolutionary storylines provided another ending, a better and lifegiving one.
The revolution continues today as ordinary, everyday people live out a revolution of Jesus’ resurrection love. It’s a revolution that looks like humility, like mercy and justice in action, like prayer, faith, belief, freedom, and perseverance. It’s a loving resistance that pushes back the darkness, insistent on looking for redemption, reconciliation, and death-to-life new creations. It’s a beating of a drum that calls people home, spreads hope, and reminds us to get busy living.
Yes, Easter is only the beginning. God is penning new-life storylines here, there, and everywhere. What resurrection story is God writing in you?
Is the kingdom that He proclaimed to be nothing more than a community of men and women who go to church on Sunday, take an annual spiritual retreat, read their Bibles every now and then, vigorously oppose abortion, don’t watch x-rated movies, never use vulgar language, smile a lot, hold doors open for people, root for the favorite team, and get along with everybody? Is that why Jesus went through the bleak and bloody horror of Calvary? Is that why He emerged in shattering glory from the tomb? Is that why He poured out His Holy Spirit on the church? To make nicer men and women with better morals?
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 brand-new creations. Not to make people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it really means to be a Christian.
(From The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning)
Walking out of the tomb, hand in hand with Jesus, let’s be a part of what unfolds next.
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25, MSG and NIV
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