When death becomes life
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
Of all the scenes of Easter in my memory, the one that has stayed with me is from the Visual Bible video, “Matthew.” It’s the last scene, where Jesus looks at the camera, raises his arm triumphantly in a victory salute and with a radiant smile, exclaims, “Yes!”
That sign was repeated after every contest at the recent Winter Olympics, a sign of victory over defeat. “Yes!”
One of my favorite cartoon strips is BC by the late Johnny Hart. This Christian artist has drawn many cartoons to subtly show his faith. One of my Easter favorites is where one of the caveman characters stops at a rock with a sign lettered on it, “Peter’s Tombs.” And behind it is another caveman. He says, “Ask about our special rates.”
“OK, may I see your special rates?”
“With pleasure sir.”
The first guy looks at the rates. The next panel shows him with a question mark over his head. “Who in the world would lease a tomb for three days and three nights?”
And the caveman looks at him with a big smile, “Who indeed!”
For some, Easter is just another holiday, a time to get together with family and friends, but having no special significance. But for the follower of Jesus, Easter is the most significant day of the whole year, more important than even Christmas.
Why? Because, Easter signifies the resurrection that offers an answer to one of life’s greatest questions: “What happens when I die?”
When Jesus stood before Mary and Martha outside the tomb of Lazarus, He said to them, I am the resurrection and the life. Resurrection was not merely a future event, it was present—in Jesus.
John 11:25-26 tells us, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
The Bible says, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10 NIV).
Romans 6:5-23 in The Message reads this way: Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection! We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was a signal of the end of death-is-the-end. Never again will death have the last word.
When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on think of it this way: Sin speaks of a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks our mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did…
As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything, for that matter. But do you call that a free life? Where did it get you? A dead end.
The power of the resurrection is the power of personal regeneration. Resurrection spells regeneration. To know Christ today is to come under the influence of the same power that raised him from the dead.
A story in Guideposts magazine recently caught my attention:
The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with joy. On impulse, I picked out a flower.
“You look happy this morning,” I said.
“Why not? Everything is good.”
She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so frail that her reply startled me.
“You wear your troubles well,”
“When Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. Then, three days later, Easter. So when I get troubles, I’ve learned to wait three days. Somehow everything gets all right again.”
And she smiled goodbye. Her words still follow me whenever I have troubles, “Wait three days.”
Good advice. Remember, we do not pray to a dead prophet or an idol made with human hands, but to the living Lord Jesus Christ, who is ready to answer your prayers!