The Power of the Resurrection

… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10a)

According to news sources, David Hall lived with his girlfriend for over a month after her death, lighting candles and opening windows in the middle of a Michigan winter to counteract the odor. Police do not suspect foul play. It seems the man simply couldn’t live without her. Some would say – have said – that’s what the Apostles did after Jesus was buried: they stole the body of a dead felon and lived with a lie because they couldn’t live without Him.

Death is the ultimate separation, the final humiliation and the greatest expression of our human weakness. For Christ, who gave up His heavenly glory to wash the feet of a few fickle friends, death meant all those things – separation from those He loved, the humiliation of the grave, the ultimate defeat. I imagine the disciples were deep in discussions about how they might learn to live without Him when the resurrection stunningly revealed they would never have to. The resurrection disclosed something in Jesus of which they had only seen a glimpse. It revealed His power.

Power for the King

  • Death is defeated. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him (Rom. 6:9). And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent (Col. 1:18).
  • The King is exalted. After the resurrection Peter says of Christ that He has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him (1 Peter 3:22). The king’s right hand is the hand of power, the hand which bestows, the position of honor. In taking this place, Christ assumed His rightful dignity as heir to all God possesses.
  • The Ruler reigns. In His life and death, Christ laid down His power. At the resurrection He took it up again. This is the beginning of the rule and reign of Christ and His people which will culminate in the judgment of the earth and the condemnation of Satan and his minions. The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15).

Power for Us

  • Eternal life. As when an ambassador negotiates a treaty, what is given to the representative belongs to his people. What He gets, we get. By the death of Christ our sins were forgiven – by His resurrection, we receive eternal life. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:21). And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power (I Cor 6:14). I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die (John 11:25-26).
  • The indwelling Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and heroes of the Old Testament, but He did not live with and within God’s people. King Jesus sent Him to us to reveal His completed mission and empower us for His service. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you (John 16:7).
  • Christ’s intercession. The power of Christ is no far-away promise to be enjoyed at a later date, but it is a living and active power which works on our behalf because of His love for us. He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).
  • Overcoming sin. We have inherited the righteousness of Christ as a result of His death, but as a result of His resurrection power, we are now able to live in ways that please God. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Rom. 6:7,8). Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:24-25).
  • Overcoming trials. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • Overcoming the evil one. Little children, you are from God and have overcome [evil], for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
  • The power to hope. That you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Eph. 1:18-21).
  • His unifying power. The most diverse people around the world and throughout history now have the most important thing in common. “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:22-23). 
  • The power to preach. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). 

Power for the world

  • The Church is empowered to serve. Only through the resurrection of Christ is the power of God available to the Church. Christ’s return to Heaven allowed Him to send us the gifts and the Spirit which make our work effective in the world. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:7-8).
  • The Gospel goes forth. Christ was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations (Rom. 1:4-5).
  • All things made new. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

Our Jesus is not a dead body to be mourned eternally. He is the living One in Whom all things hold together (Col 1:17). Jesus Christ our Lord, raised from the dead, declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4) – because we can’t live without Him and we don’t have to.

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