Nothing is quite so exciting as resurrection--the dead living again, anastasis, literally "to stand up." Spring is aptly named. This is a time of bounce back capacity, resiliency, renewal, rejuvenation, restoration.
Christ's resurrection story is told by all four gospels. Not many other resurrections in the gospels. Widow of Nain's son, Jairus's daughter. One resurrection story, well-known, is unique to John's gospel. Today we think again about the resurrection of Lazarus.
Our primary text is John 11:1ff, but especially note vv. 17-44. You know the story, at least in part, most have used as a memory verse v. 35.
[Tell story.] Here is an account of physical resurrection. This is almost always the meaning of the word in the NT. Today we celebrate resurrection, affirm that Jesus is our leader in resurrection. He went first, he succeeded, he shows the way. But in fact, in the Supper we celebrate his death and resurrection every Sunday, "until he comes."
Our title suggests several truths.
Consider three characteristics or truths regarding resurrection living.
When Jesus leads us in resurr living...
1. Our lives are not futile. Jesus PROVIDES.
Literally, pouring out easily, empty, vain, useless. We would perhaps be empty were it not for the larger, eternal perspective. Jesus gives purpose. Life is difficult, not easy. Burdensome. But as the poem, "Footprints," suggests, Jesus helps carry that burden.
2. Our failures are not fatal. Jesus EMPOWERS.
Literally, resulting in death, mortal, lethal. The word is related to fate. Destiny, inevitable, predetermined, controlled, decided in advance, decreed. The results of our failures are not fatal.
We all make mistakes, but mistakes are not permanent, not eternal when Jesus is leading us. Through Jesus we find power to overcome.
3. Our death will not be final. Jesus PROMISES.
Promises of Jesus cannot be broken, undone, forgotten. In 1 Cor. 15, he is described as the firstfruits, the promise of what is to come.
Today, we celebrate, but tomorrow life's rocky road may return. The roses may show their thorns. Go away today knowing one thing, not just that it is so nice that Jesus was raised from the dead, but that because he was raised, "Burdens are lifted at Calvary." Sins are covered, futility, fatality, and finality are erased. As we become like him, we are "Christians." Will you on this Easter Sunday mirror Jesus--experience the death of the old person, bury that old self in baptism, experience the beginning of resurrection living? It is the beginning of life with him, for him, following him.
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