He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Matthew 28:6 (NIV)
The resurrection of Jesus is of highest importance.
Every decision in your life is influenced by the resurrection. Every emotion is shaped by the resurrection. Every thought is filtered through the resurrection. The definition of your very life is impacted by the resurrection.
It's the verification of your redemption. It's the license you have to chase a good life. It's why you'll never bend or buckle under the weight of bad news or enormous threats. It's why, standing in the middle of one of the toughest seasons in your life, you can still believe that things are going to work out for your good.
Don't make another step in your life by only examining the details and circumstances that surround you. Make that step only after you have defined it by your relationship to a resurrected Christ. Why? Because His resurrection changes everything about everything in your life.
What limitations hold you in bondage? What do you think you cannot accomplish? What do you think you don't deserve? What mistake do you think God can't let you live past?
Cross over the details of all these things and then look back on them from an empty tomb and tell me if it doesn’t change your perspective.
What high mountain has you intimidated? What dark valley has you walking through it feeling fragile? What bad news makes you think it might be your turn next for something terrible to happen? What adversary is flexing muscles and has you comparing it to your apparent weakness?
Do not look at these things from the detail, but look at them from the mouth of an empty tomb and tell me then if you aren’t inclined to quote the words of scripture that say, “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.”
Yes, the resurrection changes everything—in both your life and mine.
The whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” …
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Luke 19:37-40 (NIV)
A relationship with Jesus makes your life better. Plain and simple. That fact alone should make us want to praise Him and thank Him and worship Him.
es, Jesus makes life better. I almost just want to keep saying it until the current crises in our lives are over: Jesus makes life better. I almost want to say it until those reading this who are clothed in anxiety can cast off those heavy garments and exclaim, “I know that if God be for me, who can be against me? No weapon formed against me can prosper!”
I'll say it again: Jesus makes life better.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV). Are you giving Him glory?
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power” (Jude 1:24-25 KJV). Are you ascribing to him glory and majesty, dominion and power?
I don't care whether you're in your living room, in your automobile, or stuck at work—wherever you are, you ought to rise from the sofa, get up from the kitchen table, or stand up in your cubicle and praise the name of Jesus—because He is worthy of your praise.
I'm going to say it one more time: Jesus is in our lives to make our lives better.
Because of that, we can say to Him, “Unto You be all the glory and all the praise and all the worship, to every generation.” Wherever you are, cast your head back and find a praise inside of you. Jesus is worthy!
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:1-2 (NIV)
David was the celebrated giant-slayer. He was sung about in the streets and admired for being so valiant and brave. David was the composer of songs that are both praise-lofty and gut-wrenchingly transparent. Yet, 1 Samuel 22 opens with David in a cave, in a place called Adullam, which means in the original Hebrew, “hiding place.” David is literally hiding
He is hiding from King Saul, who, in a jealous rage, will not rest until David is dead. And there David sits…in a cave.
It's amazing to me what following the path to destiny can sometimes entail. It is interesting to me some of the places and spaces in life that God will put us in. No one would ever think that David, in attempting to obediently follow God, would have to live out this part of the story. David was called from the least in his father’s house and anointed by the prophet to be the next king of the nation of Israel—yet God takes him on an unexpected detour in that journey.
Why? Because David must be taken on the route that best shapes his personality. The route that best conforms him into the image of his Creator. The route that sharpens his gifts and deepens his convictions.
God allows that which will make David confront his deepest fears and release his crippling arrogance. Through his journey, David will know both happy praise and deep pain. He’ll know both victory and painful defeat. David will see the best and the worst of people—and he will have to come to grips with the best and the worst of himself. David must take the route that makes him the best servant for God he can be. And whether we like it or not, that route includes this necessary stop in a cave.
You and I will also have unexpected detours and unwanted stops in our spiritual journey—because God’s endgame for our lives is to shape us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:8–9 (NIV)
Something that is required of every child of God is spontaneity. I’m talking about the ability to be led in the moment to do what you had not planned and were never expecting. To have spontaneity is to have enough faith to be flexible, and to let the Lord change your plans. It is to lay down what you had intended and to celebrate Jesus using whatever you have in the moment.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, I promise you the people in attendance didn’t wake up that morning and get dressed in clothes that they intended to lay in the streets. They didn’t expect to be waving palm branches in the air and expressing their collective praise and adoration to Jesus.
But when they perceived that the Messiah was riding into the city, they couldn’t help but give in to their spontaneity. They hadn’t meant to lay down their clothing, wave branches, and shout “Hosanna!” but when they recognized that the reigning Christ and the triumphant King was coming to save them, they couldn’t help it.
You may be in a season of life that is inconvenient, strange, and uncertain. If so, let me tell you something that is hard for some to accept: you can’t plan your way through it. You can only spontaneously respond to how the Lord is leading you. Are you waving your praises like palm branches to the Lord in anticipation of what He is going to do? Do you believe that He will save you from what you are going through?
Let your praises spring forth without hesitation or doubt, because your King and Messiah is coming to save you. It will not be in the way you plan, but He will come through for you. Just trust Him and rest assured that help is on the way.
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”
Mark 16:2–4 (NIV)
Just before sunrise a small group of women is getting ready to depart on a sorrowful mission. Perhaps they are distributing among themselves the spices that each of them is to carry to the tomb where Jesus’s dead body was laid. On their way, many speculations are no doubt being offered. What’s the meaning of this strange season? After three years of nonstop excitement and hopeful imagination, what’s to happen now?
While these three sisters are walking and talking, and no doubt mourning and lamenting, the question arises among them, “Who will remove the huge stone that covers the mouth of the tomb? We can’t possibly do it.” Over the last several days, the disciples and supporters of Jesus have scattered. They are hiding in fear for their own safety. So the question is valid: who will be able to roll that stone away for us?
Remarkably, they make the collective decision to keep on walking. Faith in Jesus—commitment to a mission that is for His glory and in obedience to His word—is powerful. When the answer to the obstacle had not yet been provided, these women continued to walk.
Perhaps you know the feeling: despite what appears to be insurmountable, you still feel like the best response is to simply keep going, to move forward in faith. And they did. Upon arriving to the tomb, these women discovered the value in deciding to keep going no matter what. The stone had been rolled away.
The Gospel of Mark says, “As they entered in…” There’s no record that there was any hesitation about the stone being out of place. There was no thought to the danger and controversy that had so recently surrounded Jesus’s life. Not one of them is reported to have said, “You know, maybe we ought not go in that tomb.”
They are so Christ-loyal, so duty-fueled, so spiritually focused that without hesitation, they just enter in, despite the evidence that something is not right—things are not as they should be. They were expecting to see one thing: Jesus’s dead corpse wrapped in linen cloths. But once they entered in, their expectations were met by a surprise. They were invited to discover that a resurrection had taken place.”
Their faith had been rewarded.