Summary: BECAUSE HE LIVES WE HAVE HIS PRESENCE TO SURROUND US,HIS PEACE TO SECURE US, HIS POWER TO STRENGTHEN US, HIS PURPOSE TO STIR US, AND HIS PROMISE TO SATISFY US.
BECAUSE HE LIVES
***In April of the year 2000, there was a car crash in Japan. Sadly, a man died in the accident. When the police came to examine the body, witnesses at the scene said they recognized the car and though the injuries disfigured the body, they also recognized the dead man. He was a 60-year-old local shipbuilder. This man’s family was contacted and a brother-in-law was able to come to the scene. "Yes," he said, "That’s him. That’s my brother-in-law." He took the tragic news back to the family. Calls were made. The family quickly gathered that very afternoon at the home of the widow.There they were immersed in mourning: weeping, embracing, sharing memories, making funeral plans.
Then the door opened and in walked the 60-year-old local shipbuilder, home from a hard day’s work and wondering why all the relatives had come over to his house.
No, it was not a resurrection. It was a misidentification. The man at the car crash was not the man they thought he was, so the family called the police and told them to start their identification process over, because the "dead man" had just walked into their living room.
It would have been interesting to have been in that living room to see the change that came over the family when they realized their loved one was not dead after all: from tears to smiles, from devastation to elation, from mourning to dancing. They must have felt like death had been defeated in their home. But, of course, death had not been defeated; it had just been misplaced. Their joy meant some other family’s sorrow, and the local shipbuilder will someday himself succumb to the power of death.
Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, as Peter had declared, was dead. Hope went to the grave with Him.
The movie gives only the briefest glimpse of Jesus’ resurrection, but in the Bible it is the crucial event. It is the turning point of the lives of those first followers and the event that catapulted faith in Jesus beyond this small circle to the entire world.
The shipbuilder’s family must have been overjoyed when he walked in the door. But when the disciples realized that Jesus was alive, they were infused with a joy that, as Jesus said, no one would ever take away. That man had a greater duration of life than his family thought, but the meaning of life and its ultimate outcome were the same as the day before. When Jesus walked out of that tomb, the structures of the world itself fundamentally changed.
Let’s talk about what the resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us today as Christians.
I-BECAUSE HE LIVES WE HAVE HIS PRESENCE TO SURROUND US:
Matthew 28:20B: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. We have the Son of God as our partner in life, every step of the way.
ILLUSTRATION: A man went on vacation to the Holy Land with his wife and her mother. While in Israel, the mother-in-law died from a heart attack. The couple went to a local undertaker, who explained that they could either ship the body home which would cost more than $1500, or they could bury her right there in the Holy Land for only $150.
The man said, "We’ll ship her home." Surprised, the undertaker responded, "Are you sure? That’s an awfully big expense, and we can do a very nice burial here."
The man said, "Look, 2000 years ago they buried a guy here and three days later He rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance."
If someone is alive, he/she is still with you: Bad news for this guy with his mother-in-law, but unparalleled good news for us. We can go through life with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our partner, our companion, our mentor, our daily instructor in how to live, our friend.
There have been other great spiritual and ethical teachers throughout the history of the world: Socrates, Confucius, Buddha, Muhammad. The one thing they all have in common is, they’re all dead. Their followers can read their ideas and try to implement them, but they can’t actually have these teachers as their companions.
Jesus is alive. He rose from the dead. Which means he can be with us on every step of our journey.
If I were to pass away, I could, before I died, leave written personal instructions to my 3 girls on how to live. These would be a great help to them. But how much better for me to go on living and be there for them every day - there to teach them, guide them, listen to them, cheer for them, discipline them, enjoy them, love them, and - what they care most about - buy things for them.