Easter or The Resurrection really doesn’t have any meaning in our own private lives if Christ has not risen with us. If He is not OUR Savior and Redeemer, if we do not believe He is God in the flesh – crucified, dead, buried and raised to life again, if we have not received the Gift of His Spirit which He gave us when He left this world, then Easter is no more than bunnies and eggs. The Resurrection is for others, but not for us.
So what does it look like in our daily lives if Christ is Risen in us? I don’t mean us as the Body of Christ, but us individually, walking through the easy, hard and boring parts of life.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, what did he bring with him? The keys to unlock death, hell and the grave. He had the authority over the satan.
- When christ is risen in us, we know we have Jesus’ authority over satan.
When he first returned to earth, what is the first thing Jesus did? He went looking for someone to tell that He was alive and not dead.
- When christ is risen in us, we want to tell everyone that Jesus is alive today.
He went around showing himself to others, displaying his power through miracles like healing.
- We want to tell others about Jesus’ miraculous power, and also trust him to use it in our own lives
Jesus was raised for our justification. Rom 4:25
- We know for sure that our sins are forgiven and we are legally judged not guilty. We don’t carry the shame and guilt of our sins with us. We also want others to be free of their sins.
Jesus died so we could die to our old “I don’t care about pleasing God, I’ll just please myself and do whatever I like” mentality, so we could now live like Jesus with His desire to do only the will of the Father. Rom 6:4
- We care most about doing God’s will. When we get up in the morning, we ask what God’s plans are for us and ask for the power to complete it.
Jesus was raised from the dead that we might belong to God and bear fruit for God in the new way of the spirit, not the old letter of the law. Rom 7:4,6
- We show in our words and actions that we don’t belong to ourselves, to the world, or anyone else. We are set aside for God. We also bear the fruit of the Spirit, and serve God by listening to His Spirit, not following rules.
Jesus was raised to intercede for us at the right hand of God. He 7:25
- Like Jesus prays for us, we pray for others. As He intercedes and takes our side when the Accuser speaks against us, we speak up for someone when another person speaks to us against them.
Jesus was raised to turn each person from their own evil ways. Acts 3:26
- We avoid evil, even the appearance of it.
Yes, the Easter journey may indeed take us to places and people we never thought we could know and love in the name of Jesus Christ, but it may also be a journey of a different kind. It may also be a journey that forces us to come to know ourselves, to acknowledge what within us is hindering our growth in Christ. To be able to face up to the guilts, the fears, the obsessions, the self-obsessiveness and often the self-righteousness that are the roads into a bottomless pit of self-pity and self-centredness, and to allow Christ to transfigure these, so that we too are risen with him beyond the chains of spiritual death.
If Jesus Christ is risen in us, we must walk with him in the light of his resurrection, never contented with what we are and where we are, but always seeking to find him in others, to bring others to him, and within our own lives and with his grace to destroy everything that takes us on any journey away from his love and his forgiveness. Easter is not the end of anything, but the beginning of a wonderful journey with Jesus Christ.
In a book about Spiritual Community, the author describes it as a place where we turn our chairs toward each other and listen to each other. Then we tell each other, no matter what we have heard in the other person’s story, how we see Christ in the other person. The most important thing is that the person has entered into Spiritual Community and cared enough about their relationship with Christ and their own commitment to be like Jesus to admit their failings and flaws to their brother or sister. Their sorrow at their sin and disappointment at their failures is glorious in the eyes of their Spiritual Community, because godly sorrow brings about true repentance, and true repentance brings Christ out on display for the rest of the world to see.
Last week, I encouraged you all to write down something on paper about others in church you know, and how you see Christ in them. Your brothers and sisters need encouragement to know that someone sees their effort to live for Christ, regardless of how hard the journey may be, or how many ditches they have fallen into. They may be scarred and covered in mud, but if they are here, it shows that regardless of how their flesh may have caused them to stumble, in their heart and spirit, Jesus Christ is their life, and they want nothing more than to be pleasing to and be transformed into the image of Jesus.