This morning, millions around the world are celebrating the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. The vast majority of us will do it from our homes instead of in our churches, and for me, it somehow makes the celebration that much more meaningful. It comes down to one thing:
What are we really celebrating?
Are we celebrating a historical event that happened roughly 2,000 years ago? Maybe a little, for the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event that did happen despite the millions who have tried to say that it did not happen.
But we’re celebrating much more than that!
We celebrate what Jesus’s resurrection began.
On that Sunday morning, so long ago, Jesus split the wall that separates death from life. He’d done so before for one person here or there, but when He smashed that barrier and personally returned once again to a human body, He started something new.
You see, before that point, death was a one-way street. An end. A “dead end.”
But with Jesus’ resurrection a new possibility became a reality:
In Him, Death now leads to Life!
Death is no longer the end!
In Him, there is something beyond that dead end!
But this is true about so much more than just physical death and eternal life.
Transforming the death in our personal reality into something living and breathing is something He is constantly doing! Being “saved” as we Christians like to call it means we are constantly being saved.
Jesus has taken the death that results from our sin and created life to replace it:
13 When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our sins, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
And Jesus has brought life in so many other ways. I love Isaiah 61 because it is a list of so many ways that Jesus brings life out of death! Listen to this… really listen to it!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
The death that comes from affliction and hopelessness is now offered good news!
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
The death that comes from a broken heart is now offered healing and restoration!
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
The death that comes when we feel trapped by circumstances or our own habits and addictions is now broken! We are free!
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
The death that comes from injustice now has a Champion who gives favor that heals and restores!
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The death that comes from sorrow and grief is now met with comfort and peace and even joy!
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
The death that comes from weariness is now met with the strength that comes through praise!
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
The death that comes from sin is now a righteousness that is so strong that it brings glory to the Perfect One!
4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
The death that comes from generational poverty and curses and habits that have been passed down is now broken! Because of Jesus’s resurrection, lives and families can be restored and rebuilt!
5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
The death that comes from oppression by others will be reversed!
6 But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.
The death that comes from separation from God is gone! For we are now invited to draw close to Him as priests who minister both to Him and to the world around us!
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their riches you will boast.
The death that comes from poverty is broken, for He supplies every need regardless of what earthly circumstances look like!
7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
The death that comes from shame is destroyed and replaced by revelation and blessing and unspeakable joy!
Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land,
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
Death of all types is defeated!
Not because death will no longer happen, but because in Him, it now leads to life!
Was it a morning like this? When the world was full of hopelessness and death and grief and sorrow and uncertainty? Yes, it was. And most of the world didn’t know that anything had changed that morning.
But everything HAD changed!
We know it, and that is why we celebrate!