The Relevance of the Resurrection
As a pastor’s kid, I was immersed in Christianity from an early age. But only recently, I realized I was missing a very important part of the story.
I was missing the importance and relevance of the Resurrection.
Growing up in a religious culture, we each pick up narratives about who God is and how he interacts with the world. For better or for worse, some of these narratives are false or show just one side of the story.
Around Easter, I have tended to focus on Jesus’ death as an atonement for my sin, which it is. He took the punishment that I deserved. Too often though, if I focus on this true narrative, I view God as a judge who loves me when I obey and punishes me when I disobey.
But there is another part to the story that must be viewed in tandem with Jesus’s death. Today we celebrate it, yet for many years, I didn’t see the power in it.
In the context of Martha’s brother Lazarus dying, Jesus tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). Then Jesus demonstrates his power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead.
Soon after Jesus himself dies and rises again to new life.
For too long I focused on Jesus’ death and missed the power and relevance of Jesus’ resurrection.
The narrative I missed was that Jesus’ resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit enables me to begin living life the way I was designed to live. This has amazing ramifications. It is no longer I that lives but Christ living in me. When God the Father sees me, he doesn’t see me with my sin, but he sees His Son Jesus in me. God the Father smiles when he sees me. I am his creation. We are all his creation. He takes pride in his design.
Our new church community at Mile High Vineyard puts a lot of weight on this piece of the narrative that Jesus is alive and living in us today. The Spirit that Jesus gives us speaks through believers in prayer. Prayer is no longer a one way conversation but a two way conversation where the Spirit engages with us and speaks truth.
And the Spirit enables us to join Jesus in rolling out his Kingdom that is breaking back into our current reality. We don’t just sit back and pray for Jesus to come quickly, we engage in Kingdom work through the Spirit’s power. This Kingdom fights injustice, brings equality, humbles pride, lifts the poor and restores our world’s original design.
Too often I’ve sat in church and wondered, “Is this all there is? Is this what Jesus died and rose again to create?” There seemed to be something missing, and I am beginning to realize that what I was missing was the Resurrection.
Jesus rose again to give us Life.
The Life we were created to live.
The Life that we can’t live on our own but only through the indwelling and filling of the Spirit.
Easter is about a death AND a resurrection AND a kingdom that is unfolding that we can participate in.