Resurrection Life


We just celebrated Resurrection Sunday a few days ago. I guess I am still standing at the empty tomb. Am I standing at the tomb where Jesus was buried or at the tomb where my old nature was buried? Don’t think for a minute that I am comparing myself to Jesus! However, I think we can make some interesting comparisons.

Let’s begin by remembering four things that happened after Jesus was nailed to the cross.
1) Jesus died on the cross
2) Jesus’ dead body was buried
3) The tomb was empty
4) Jesus’ body was resurrected

Now let’s make four corresponding statements that apply to us as believers who have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior.
1) our human nature died on the cross
2) our human nature was buried
3) our tomb is empty
4) we live a resurrected lifestyle

Galatians 2:20 proclaims, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Notice it says, we were crucified with Christ, not just that Christ was crucified for us. This becomes very personal. I realize that as Jesus hung on the cross, my sinful nature was hanging on the cross with Him. When Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus’ body in the tomb, he also buried my sinful nature. (Matthew 27:57-59) My old nature is just as dead as Jesus was.

However, when the women went to the tomb after the sabbath, the tomb was empty. (Matthew 28:1-7) Not only was Jesus’ dead body missing, but also my dead sinful nature is missing. Mary soon found out that Jesus was resurrected. That means, I am also resurrected with a new nature.

II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!We have more to celebrate than the resurrection of Jesus. We can celebrate the resurrection of the new creation we have become in Christ. Jesus did not stay dead. Neither are we to stay dead in our old sinful nature.

Being alive in Christ creates a whole new lifestyle for us! We are to walk in this freedom. We no longer wear grave cloths. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.Hallelujah! This is worth celebrating!

Romans 6:3-11 gives a good summary of how we identify with Christ’s death and resurrection. Read the following excerpts. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, . . . For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Yes, we are dead to the old, but we are alive to the new. Let us focus upon who you are becoming in Christ. We live our resurrected life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11-13 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

We now have new life because we are new creations in Christ. Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.We are set free from our old nature and selfish lifestyle. Let us remember that when Christ died, we died. Because Christ rose from the dead, we can rise above the dead snful life.

Don’t look back on what you have done. Look ahead to what God has planned for you. Jeremiah 29:11 is always a favorite of mine. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Do not allow Christ’s death to have been vain. Celebrate Christ’s resurrection by honoring Him with the new life you now live. Proclaim with Paul in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ!

*Many of my thoughts in this post were influenced by online comments by Graham Cooke.

 

 

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The Resurrected King

resurrectionSince we just celebrated Jesus’ resurrection this past Sunday, it is not surprising that I am still singing the Elevation Worship lyrics of the current Christian song Resurrecting The specific phrase that I am pondering declares, “The resurrected king is resurrecting me.” Please join me in pondering this phrase and searching the scriptures for a more complete comprehension.

The rresurrected King…”

He is not here, but He has risen.
Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men,
and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
Luke 24:6-7

You killed the author of life,
but God raised him from the dead.
Acts 3:15

Resurrection comes from the Greek word anastasis that is a compound word composed of ana meaning again and histemi meaning to stand. Jesus was standing – He was not on the cross – He was not in the grave. Jesus was resurrected on the third day. He was brought back to life.

and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father
Revelation 1:5-6

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
Revelation 19:16

Resurrected King” is an appropriate description of Jesus! He is King over all kings, and we are to be part of His kingdom. In the final book of the Bible, He is declared King of kings and Lord of lords.

“… is resurrecting me”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God
unless they are born again.”
John 3:3

To intimately know Jesus, the Resurrected King, we must be born again. Being born again is a form of resurrection for us because this means that our spirit is born again, brought back to life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
II Corinthians 5:17

The new life we are given in Christ is a resurrected life. To be resurrected is to be used again, but in a new way.

I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection
and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

To fully comprehend the necessary power for Jesus to resurrect us, we may have to share in some form of suffering. It is often through suffering that we come to more intimately know Christ.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:24

Jesus died on the cross before being resurrected. We are each required to take up our cross which means for us to die to our selfish ways before resurrection life is possible for us.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

The renewing of our minds is part of the resurrection life the Resurrected King is offering to us. We have a new mind. We have the mind of Christ

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Because of the resurrection power of Christ that now lives in us, we can fulfill God’s purposes for our lives.

The Resurrected King is resurrecting me.”

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Romans 6:5
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Although I have only quoted two verses from Romans 6, the first 11 verses of this chapter proclaims the resurrection life that our Resurrected King is offering to us. When we confess our sins of selfishness, anger, pride etc., we die to them and then we are resurrected to selflessness, love, humility etc. We can now live the resurrection life that Jesus is offering to us.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant,
even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will,
working in us that which is pleasing in His sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.
Hebrews 13:20-21

I cannot think of a better verse to fulfill this complete phrase from the song Resurrecting! Just a few days ago we proclaimed, “He is risen!” and “He is risen indeed!” Now I am also praising the Lord and saying, “He is resurrecting me!” and “He is resurrecting me indeed!” My Reader, are you ready to make these proclamations?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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PS: I am also including the Elevation Worship lyrics of Resurrection as there is a wonderful message in the complete song.

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
Now at his feet we bow

The one who wore our sin and shame
Now robed in majesty
The radiance of perfect love
Now shines for all to see

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

The fear that held us now gives way
To him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
[x3]

The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Our God has robbed the grave

Your name
Your name
Is victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king
[x2]

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me

Jesus Cares about YOU!

jesus-cares-1

My Bible is open to John 11 and I read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I usually jump to the exciting part about new life for Lazarus in this account and just skim over the first part of the story. Today I read it a little differently. I see the experiences of Mary and Martha as encouragement for anyone who is waiting for “something” to happen. My Reader, are you aching for a special friend or family member to have a personal encounter with Jesus? Are you praying for someone to be physically, emotionally or spiritually healed? Study the words of John 11 with me.

Verse 1: Now a man named Lazarus was sick… he was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Lazarus was the individual who was sick. He had two sisters who loved him and wanted to see him healed. Can you name a person you care about who is like a Lazarus?

Verse 3: So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Mary and Martha knew Jesus well and were confident He could heal their brother. They contacted Jesus. This is what we do when we pray for another person.

Verse 4: When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Jesus heard Mary and Martha’s request but He planned to do more for Lazarus than put a band-aid upon his illness. We have the confidence that Jesus will hear our prayers of intercession but we must remember that He may have bigger plans for how He will work in a specific situation than what we may perceive. It might take more time.

Verse 5-6: Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick he stayed where he was two more days.”
One would think that Jesus would want to return to be with His friends when tragedy struck . But that is not what Jesus did! Scripture says that Jesus stayed away because He loved them. Just because Jesus may not answer our prayers as we want when we want, it does not mean that He does not love us. It may even be because of His love that He waits.

Verses 14-15: So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.
Things had gone from bad to worse for this family of Bethany! Jesus knew what was happening and even said He was glad He was not there. That doesn’t sound very loving to us from the natural perspective. However, Jesus sees into the supernatural realm. Now Jesus is ready to go back to His friends. He did not forget them and He does not forget us even when it seems to us as if He is not going to intervene.

Verses 20, 28-29: When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home….After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
When Jesus returned to Bethany, He connected with Mary and Martha before He went to the grave of Lazarus. Before acting on behalf of Lazarus, Jesus had compassion on Mary and Martha and met them in their time of sorrow. We can be assured that He will comfort us while we are waiting for “sleeping” family and friends to return to Him. We are a priority to Jesus. I like John’s choice of words in verse 28 saying, “The Teacher is here.” The Holy Spirit lives inside us teaching us about who Jesus is. Just like Martha’s faith being broadened with understanding in verses 21-27, so can we grow in our faith. The Lord sees all situations as opportunities for us to gain a deeper understanding of who He is.

Verse 34: Where have you laid him (Lazarus)?” he (Jesus) asked.
With Mary and Martha at His side, Jesus now turned His attention to Lazarus. He wanted to know where Lazarus was. Where have we left the family and friends for whom we are praying? Have we left them alone feeling that they are dead and hopeless or have we left them at the feet of Jesus?

Verse 35: Jesus wept.
Jesus could have wept because of the sorrow of Mary and Martha. He also weeps with us in our pain. Jesus could have wept because of the death of Lazarus. He mourns with us when we mourn the loss of someone special. Jesus could have wept because of the lack of faith and understanding of those around Him. He cries within His heart as He sees how little faith we have compared to what is available to us.

Verse 39: “Take away the stone,” he (Jesus) said.
This was the beginning of the miracle Jesus was about to perform.
Is there a stone blocking Jesus’ entry into our hearts that is preventing Him from working in our lives?  If so, He wants it removed.

Verses 41-42:
Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus
sets the example for us to begin our prayers with thanksgiving. Jesus was confident His Heavenly Father heard Him. We, too, can have the assurance that He hears and answers our prayers.

Verses 43-44: Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”…. “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Not only did Lazarus receive life back into his body but he also was freed from bondage exemplified by the grave cloths that were taken off. Are there bonds
that can be broken in our lives that will allow us to live a freer better life? We have this promise for eternity but we also have the promise for today if we are willing to come out of our old dead ways of thinking and acting.

In conclusion, I believe Mary and Martha were glad Jesus waited two days. Their prayers were answered in an exceedingly, abundantly way far beyond what they had asked! I think what happened in the lives of Mary and Martha was just as important as the gift of resurrected life Lazarus received. The Lord works within our lives while working in the lives of those we bring to Him in prayer. My Reader, take heart; you may be in a holding pattern waiting for the fulfillment of your fervent prayers, but Jesus cares about YOU!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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