What Difference Does the Resurrection Make? Part 2

Life is full of problems that we are powerless to solve. Think about it, have you ever felt like your life was out of control, like you were weak and ineffective in some situation whether it’s trying to break a bad habit or save a relationship or get out of debt or parent your kids or manage your schedule or just powerless to live right?  The fact is, the reason we fail in these, the difficulties of life, is because we were never meant to live life on our own power.  No, we were meant to live life empowered by a relationship with our Creator and Redeemer.

That’s what Paul was talking about in 2nd Corinthians 4:7 when he said, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” In other words the secret of success in life is knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and following Him as Lord—letting Him live in and through us!  Only a personal relationship with our Risen Lord can empower us.

He lives in us and empowers us to forgive. He makes us into the husbands and wives and parents and employees and neighbors…the kind of people we long to be—need to be. In fact, that’s one reason Jesus came back from the dead, to empower us to live as He lived. Jesus didn’t die and then rise again just to be studied.  No. He died and rose again to offer through His blood and His life, new life—transforming power to live an abundant, successful, fulfilling life. Paul’s writes in Ephesians 1:18-20, “I pray that you may know the hope to which He has called you, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead!”  Paul is reminding us here that the same power that enabled Jesus to rise from the dead 2000 years ago is available to help you and me rise above our problems today!  Jesus’ resurrection proves to us once and for all that no problem is too big for God to handle. No situation is hopeless if it is turned over to Him. If God can bring His Son back to life, He can cause a resurrection in any aspect of our lives as well.

What has died in your life? What dreams; what hopes; what relationship; what vision? Is there a particular sin that has you in its grip? What has you “stuck? ”Remember, no situation in life is beyond Jesus’ resurrection power! Claim that power for your own!

Jesus’ resurrection has impacted the PAST. We can look around and see that it changes our PRESENT and

 Jesus Resurrection changes our FUTURE!

And we need our futures changed because we know that death awaits us all one day. In his book, God’s Story, Your Story Max Lucado shares the true story of Carl McCunn, an affable Texan with a love of the outdoors. In the late 1970’s McCunn moved to Alaska. He took a trucking job on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, where he made good money, fast friends, and concocted an adventure that still stirs bewilderment in the forty-ninth state. At the age of 35, McCunn embarked on a five-month photography expedition in the wild. Friends describe how seriously he prepared for the quest, devoting a year to plan-making and detail-checking. He solicited advice and purchased supplies.  And then in March of 1981, he hired a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River, some 70 miles northeast of Ft. Yukon. He took two rifles, a shotgun, fourteen hundred pounds of provisions, and five hundred rolls of film. He set up his tent and set about his season of isolation, blissfully unaware of an overlooked detail that would cost him his life. You see, Mr. McCunn had made no arrangements to be picked up. And his unbelievable blunder didn’t dawn on him until August—five months after he arrived. We know this because of a hundred-page loose-leaf diary the Alaska state troopers found near his body the following February. In an understatement the size of Mount McKinley, McCunn wrote: “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure.”

As the days shortened and air chilled, he began searching the ground for food and the skies for rescue. He was running low on ammunition. Hiking out was impossible. He had no solution but to hope someone in the city would notice his absence. By the end of September snow was piling up, the lake was frozen and his supplies were nearly gone. His body fat began to metabolize, making it more difficult to stay warm. Temperatures hovered around zero, and frostbite began to attack his fingers and toes. By late November, McCunn was out of food, strength, and optimism. One of his final diary entries reads, “This is sure a slow and agonizing way to die.” Isolated with no rescue—trapped with no exit—nothing to do but wait for the ending. Chilling thought isn’t it? And puzzling, why no exit strategy?  Didn’t he know that every trip comes to an end? It’s not like his excursion would last forever. And neither will ours.

Take your fingers and feel the pulse in your neck. That pulse will one day end. Your heart will have a final beat. Feel yourself breathe. One day those lungs will empty a final breath.   That’s our future. I know it’s an uncomfortable fact to consider—but it’s true. As Carl Kuehner once put it, “Death is the most democratic institution on earth…it allows no discrimination, tolerates no exceptions. The mortality rate of mankind is the same the world over: one death per person.”

We all die: nearly 2 people a second, more than 6,000 an hour, more than 155,000 every day…57 million a year. The finest surgeon might enhance your life but he can’t eliminate your death. As Hebrews 9:27 says, “People are destined to die, then face judgement.” That’s the fact—plain and simple. And we don’t like contemplating this fact. Death seems like such a dead end but that’s why the news the first disciples learned that first Easter Sunday makes such a difference! The Risen Jesus promises to do to your tomb the same thing he did to His—empty it. The fact is we can face our future, death included, with absolute peace…because Jesus rose. As Christians we know that death is not the final chapter of our story.  Jesus said, “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 11:25-6)

During his historic crusade in London Billy Graham had a private meeting with Winston Churchill where Graham shared the gospel with the famous statesman.  Churchill became a Christ-follower. We can see this in the way the Prime Minister planned his own funeral. According to his instructions, two buglers were positioned high in the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. At the conclusion of the service, the first one played taps, the signal of a day completed. Immediately after, with the sounds of the first song still ringing in the air, the second bugler played reveille, the song of a day begun. Churchill made these plans to proclaim the fact that for the Christian death is not an alley with no exit but rather a thoroughfare from earth to Heaven.

Do you know Jesus? If not, who or what are you counting on in life? What is your foundation for your future? What is your “exit strategy?”  There is only one hope for human beings stuck in difficult times of poverty, disease, pain, hardship, and even death itself…and it is this: “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.”

Darrell

 

 

 

 

 

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander, Jarrell & Taylor, TX
This entry was posted in Jesus Questions - Matthew and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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