“Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy!” (Isaiah 26:19)
"Angels called out to the women, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!'” (Luke 24:5-6) Very much joyful news, but it must have caught the ladies off guard, don’t you think? After all, they were there at Jesus’ tomb with burial spices to anoint the body of a Man they saw die. From their experience, a dead person on Friday is not alive on Sunday. But, here is what no one had ever experienced – dazzling angels keeping watch next to an empty tomb, telling them Jesus is alive. By defeating death, Jesus is all about life. But, it has to do with recognizing that real life, true life, rises above and over the things that we have only associated with death and dying.
As we celebrate Easter, have you considered what parts of your life God might want to resurrect – to give life to something that seems to be dying, or is already dead? Maybe it’s strained family relationships. Do you pray for the family member who has dissed you or just seems distant to you? Are you willing to open your heart to start loving him or her the way God loves you? “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7)
Maybe it’s a friendship lacking what used to be there. If Christ’s work on the cross tells us anything, it’s that forgiveness and grace trumps everything. After all, as Jesus was dying there, He begged His Father, “Forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34) Thinking about that friend, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
Maybe after giving of yourself to family and loved ones who are closest, sometimes what’s left isn’t really all that pleasant for the rest of the folks in your life – salespeople, people in front of you in line at the store, the acquaintances God sets up for you as a part of your normal days. As you consider what Christ accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection, remember that our attitude can be a beautiful reflection of His perfect attitude. “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10)
Going forward from this Easter, what area of your life might need to come alive, knowing that Jesus did not die and rise again that we would simply continue on in ways that ignore or disregard His offer of transformation?