The Power of His Resurrection
by Pastor Bill Pevlor
Spring is a wonderful time to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The
evidence of new life in the grass and trees and flowers around us reminds us of
the new life we have in Christ because of His perfect life, His death on the
cross in our place, and His glorious resurrection. Without the last event, the
other two would have been pointless, but the fact that Jesus rose again and is
alive forevermore has given us the opportunity to receive the amazing gift of
eternal life. While we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus and what it means to
us, let us also remember that He first had to die. There would be no empty
garden tomb if it weren’t for the old rugged cross.
The Apostle Paul stated in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ
and the power of His resurrection...” Many people stop quoting there, but
the verse goes on, “...and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like
Him in His death.”
Several places in scripture use the analogy of a seed to describe the
kingdom of God. In John 12:24, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a
kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. but
if it dies, it produces many seeds.” If Jesus has not died and risen
again, He would have been merely a man known in history as a great teacher. But
He laid down His life and took it up again, and the result is that literally
billions of people may now share in His resurrection.
The power of the resurrection is multiplication, and the secret to that
power is dying. We get excited about the resurrection, but we forget that it
first requires a death. We like the idea of a great harvest, but we must first
plant the seed. To refer back to the verse in Philippians, we all want the power
of Christ’s resurrection, but few of us want to share in His sufferings.
I am certainly glad that to experience the new life of Christ doesn’t
require an actual physical death. However, make no mistake, a “death” is
required. A death of my will. The demise of my “self,” my pride, my agenda
and a taking up the agenda of my professed Lord and Savior; Jesus. In many ways,
a much more difficult process than simply extinguishing physical life.
The truth is we cannot even begin to know Christ or the power of his
resurrection without going through our own experience of “death.” The
Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ...”
He wasn’t speaking of a one-time physical death experience. Paul was referring
to the ongoing submission of his life, will and desires to the will of his Lord.
We see this “death” symbolized in water baptism. In his letter to the
Romans, Paul explained that when we were “baptized into Christ Jesus,”
we were, “baptized into his death.” He went on to say that we were, “buried
with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised
from the dead...we too may live a new life,” (Romans 6:3-4). In other
words, if we want to know Christ and share in His life we must be willing to
forfeit our own life. That may sound harsh, but consider the benefits. We
exchange our weak, sinful lives for the power and glory of His resurrected life!
What a deal! The benefits far outweigh the cost.
We can also observe this process in nature. Consider the cycle of a tree.
During the summer the tree offers refreshment to both the sight and senses
through the beauty and shade provided by its lush foliage. In the autumn the
tree is arrayed in the splendor of warm reds and golds. Soon, however, the
leaves begin to fall. The bare branches offer little reminder of the previous
beauty. Through the winter the fallen leaves are covered with snow and begin to
rot and decay. This is a vivid analogy of our lives without Christ. We may
achieve momentary success or glory. We may even be very good and kind and appear
to be righteous and just. But eventually, our efforts prove futile, and we are
left with the barrenness and rotting decay of human sinfulness. But, thank God,
there is hope! Just as the earth turns and seasons change, bringing new buds of
life to the tree branches, so Christ brings new life to the heart of those who
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