Summary: Message focuses on the real power of the resurrection.
The Power of The Resurrection
Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus died, was buried and on the third day, He rose from the dead – He was resurrected. To resurrect something means to bring it back from the dead or to make it useful again. We all understand that Christ rose from the dead, but on this Easter morning, I want to look at the power of the resurrection within our lives. I want to focus on the two sides of this power. There is the power we have received from Christ’s resurrection and then there is power that is displayed when other things are resurrected. These other things are what I will primarily focus on this morning.
I have never been a big reader of Greek mythology, but in those stories you will read about a bird called the phoenix. The phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird that originated in Persian mythology and later entered into Greek mythology. It has a 500 to 1,000 year life-cycle. Near the end of its life cycle, the phoenix builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites causing both the nest and the bird burn fiercely. For the ashes a new, young phoenix is reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. The phoenix continues this process indefinitely with a young phoenix being reborn out of the ashes of the parent phoenix. Although the phoenix at its death goes through the horribleness of burning alive, it is reborn to live for another 500–1000 years.
I want you to think about the phoenix being reborn after each horrible death. The phoenix goes through one terrible moment in order to live for another 500 years. Once completing that terrible moment (burning to death) it is reborn for another life time. This is the power of the resurrection. Before Christ entered the world, the prevailing thought was that when you died, that was all you got. There was no life after death and once you were dead, that was it. However, when the disciples witnessed Christ’s resurrection they understood that there was life after death and this understanding gave them the power to withstand their enemies. This is the power of the resurrection. Before I get into the heart of this message, I want to review a few Scriptural references with you pertaining to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Keep in mind the horrible death that the phoenix goes through in order to be reborn as we review these Scriptures.
Before Jesus was arrested, He knew what was about to happen so He went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. While He was crying out to God, He made the following request in Matthew 26:39: “…..My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” He repeated His request I verse forty-two. The first thing we need to understand is that although Jesus was the Son of God, He did not want to die on the cross. He knew this was His destiny, but He asked His Father if it were possible that it could pass from Him. We often think of Jesus as God and walking proudly (even in a beaten state) to His death. This was not the case. Jesus was human just like us. He had given up his deity power to live as one of us. In this case, he was under a lot of stress as He prepared mentally for what He was about to experience.
The second point that I want you to see is found in Matthew 27:46 when Jesus was on the cross. He cried out to God and said “….My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” At this point on the cross, Jesus felt abandoned by God and alone. He had taken the weight of the sins of the world (the sins of the past, present and future) on His shoulders as He hung on the cross. He was experiencing pain and abandonment as He waited to die. This was a horrible death and for His disciples, it was the end. The last verse I want you to see comes from Matthew 28:18 after Jesus had been resurrected from the dead: “….All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
Here is what we need to understand from Jesus resurrection. In order for the power to be made available for us, Jesus had to die and be resurrected. Had He died and stayed in the grave His message of love would have lasted for a few years, but it would have eventually faded away. Had He stayed in the grave, we would still be afraid of death today because when we died, that would be it. Had he stayed in the grave, we would still be hell bound and eternally separated from God. Because Jesus was resurrected, the pain that He went through was not the end, but the beginning. Now here is the most wonderful part of all: Ephesians 2:4-6 says that we have been resurrected with Him. It reads “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Isn’t that great? We have had access to the resurrection even before we were born. Before we committed our first sin, grace had already prevailed. When Christ rose from the dead, we too rose with Him. When all power was given into His hands, that same power became available to us when we accepted Him as our Savior. The penalty of death for our sins no longer held us captive. As Christ is alive, so are we and therefore even though we go through hardships and pain, joy will always come in the morning.