Summary: As people of the resurrection we should be seeking the Son even as new flowers seek the sun and a compass needle orients itself to north.
One of the little surprises I enjoy every spring is seeing the sprouts of new life burst out of the ground. Some of you may have noticed the little crocuses by the front door of the church. Already before the snow was completely gone, I saw their green shoots breaking through the soil. And even though the temperatures are cold and some of the ground around them is still frozen, they somehow overcome all the barriers that should hold them back. It is as though they are seeking the sun so its rays can warm them and invigorate them as they begin their new life in the spring. They remind me of what happens in the lives of people who have experienced the resurrection, because they too are seeking the son – the Son of God.
Let me use another illustration. You may have had Boy Scout training or outdoor hiking experience and you have learned how to use a compass. Which direction does a compass seeks? A compass always seeks north. If you had been out in the parking lot of the church a couple of weeks ago, you would have seen me driving our car in a big circle and you might have wondered what in the world I was doing going in circles like that. I had just installed a new compass in the car and in order to adjust it, I had to make a circle so the compass could orient itself accurately. The compass was orienting itself by seeking a northerly direction. Only if that compass is oriented toward the north can it display the other directions correctly.
Now think about that image of orienting yourself as you read the first verse of Colossians 3. “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above…” Did you notice that word seek? It doesn’t mean to look for something that is lost. It means to orient your life toward the Son of God, like a compass that seeks north, like a flower that seeks the sun. Only now, you are allowing the Son of God to shine on your attitudes and behavior. How is that possible, you ask? It is only possible because of the resurrection of Jesus.
When I was teaching college courses, sometimes I taught the basics and sometimes I taught higher-level courses. For just a moment, let’s go back to Resurrection 101 to review the account of this earth-shaking, life-changing event. I want to invite you to turn to the last page of the book of Matthew. The details of the resurrection of Jesus can be found in all of the first four books of the New Testament. In each of those accounts the author explains that Jesus, who came to earth as the Son of God, was nailed to a cross. As John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. But the cross is not the end of the story. Let’s read 28:1-10.
Later, in the book of Acts we read that Jesus stayed around for 40 days and then ascended into the heavens, where God received him back by his side.
You have probably heard this account before, even though you may not remember the details. And maybe, after watching a TV show or reading a book or talking with friends, you have wondered how much truth there is in this account. How do we know it isn’t just a story that those early Christians made up?
There are a lot of things we could say in answer to that question, but here are some facts to consider as we go to Resurrection 201.
1. Jesus’ execution was public. An angry crowd demanded it. Governor Pilate ordered it. Roman authorities completed it. As Paul said when he was defending himself and his faith before King Agrippa, “These things were not done in a corner.
2. Jesus’ grave was empty even though Roman soldiers had been guarding it. No one could have gotten to Jesus from the outside. We might say it was an inside job.
3. Jesus was seen not only by his disciples, but by over 500 people after he was raised, the Bible says. Any public information like that could easily be checked out.
4. Jewish believers changed their day of worship. Remember that the Jews had observed the Sabbath on Saturday through all of their history. They wouldn’t dare disobey the laws that Moses gave. But after Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, they began worshiping together on that day instead of on Saturday. It took a phenomenal event for them to switch days like that.