By Leah Lively, Crosswalk.com
Every year at Easter, Christians refocus on cornerstone of our faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, it’s easy to forget the significance of the resurrection as we celebrate with baskets, eggs, and bunnies. And it’s especially hard to live in the hope of his resurrection throughout the year as life brings inevitable challenges.
Whether you’re preparing for Easter, or just preparing your heart for the day, it’s helpful to recall that Jesus didn’t just come to earth only to die and rise again. He came so that we could live our lives fully with Him each day...resurrected.
In John 11, Jesus came to see his friends Mary and Martha because their brother Lazarus had died. The story ends happily, with the physical resurrection of Lazarus, but before commanding his friend to “Come out!” of the tomb (John 11:43 CSB), Jesus has a conversation with Martha. He tells her that her brother will live.
Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
He wasn’t talking about his future resurrection or Lazarus’ future resurrection at the end of time. Jesus wanted Martha, and all of us, to understand that when we place our lives in His hands, He will raise them up again to live a fulfilled life in the present.
Our sin causes us to die spiritually because it separates us from a real relationship with God. We can lose all hope in ever having the life we were called to live. Jesus wants us to live a resurrected life, now.
Let’s look at 5 reasons the resurrection is important for the life you’re living right now:
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1. Jesus Came to Resurrect Your Hope
In Luke 3, John the Baptist had been preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. Since King David, the Jewish people had gone through hundreds of years of turning away from God, turning to Him, then away from Him again.
In anger, God drove the people into exile. Their land and homes were destroyed, and they were taken over by foreign powers. Ultimately, they were able to return and rebuild Jerusalem, but eventually, the Roman government gained control of the area.
The people, without hope, held on to the promise of the coming Messiah, a warrior (in their minds) who would deliver them from Roman rule and return Israel back to wealth and power.
John proclaims the words of hope from the prophet Isaiah: “A voice crying out in the wilderness. Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! Every valley will be filled and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6 CSB)
The messiah was already resurrecting hope in a lost people as John prepared them for His coming.
Maybe your life right now is deflating the hope out of you. Unexpected illnesses, relationship struggles, or the daily grind can make a life of hope more like misery. Everyone reaches a point where you become aware of how your life has become drastically different from where you imagined it would be.
It’s easy to grow depressed and even make life-altering decisions to change your circumstances. God knew we would need the hope of Jesus.
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2. Jesus Came to Resurrect Your Calling
In Luke 5, Jesus resurrected a calling in the hearts of some fishermen. In Jewish cultural tradition, the children are sent to school to learn the scriptures and memorize the Torah (Old Testament). Once they reach a certain age, the girls come home to help with household duties. The boys continue with their studies if they excel as students of the scriptures and eventually ask a rabbi (teacher) to follow him as an apprentice. If the boys do not do well or are rejected by a rabbi, the return home to learn the family business. The fishermen were rejected as apprentices and now worked with their fathers.
Many of the men Jesus called had already been followers of John the Baptist. They listened to his encouragement to repent of their sins and prepare their lives for the coming Son of God. Instead of these rejected students approaching this rabbi (Jesus), he approached them.
They didn’t ask to follow Him, he commanded they follow Him. They dropped everything, their livelihood and their family business, to take hold of the second chance to be an apprentice to a rabbi.
When life throws curveballs, your dream and calling can get laid aside or even forgotten. God has called each one of us to live a life that would glorify Him (1 Peter 4:11). What dream have you forgotten that you could make steps to resurrect?
Jesus is calling you to follow Him, now. Thanks to what you know about his resurrection, you can follow the dream He has for you.
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3. Jesus Came to Resurrect Your Faith
Throughout the gospels, Jesus heals and brings to life those who have faith in Him. There are countless stories where Jesus proclaims, “Get up!” after He has healed a person who had been proclaimed dead or paralyzed. He resurrects the faith of those who are ill as well as onlookers who rejoice after witnessing the miracle.
In Luke 8:43-48, Jesus is on His way to bring a child back to life when a woman reaches out and touches the hem of his robe. She had been bleeding for twelve years and must have been at the point of desperation and weakness if she were in the physical position to reach the bottom of Jesus' garment.
She had been shunned from society and kept out of entering the temple area, but her faith was enough that she knew if she simply reached out and touched the cloth worn by Jesus, she would find healing.
Upon touching his garment, “Instantly her bleeding stopped”(Luke 8:44 CSB). She didn’t have to ask for healing and Jesus didn’t have to grant her healing. All the woman needed was enough faith to help her to reach out and touch her healer.
Long-term suffering can diminish your faith. For twelve years the woman had been suffering. The presence of Jesus resurrected her faith to the point of acting on it. She didn’t do anything great. She didn’t make a sound. She just reached out.
Your faith can be resurrected by reaching out to Jesus through prayer, worship, and reading the Bible. He may begin by healing your grieving heart through your resurrected faith.
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4. Jesus Came to Resurrect Your Joy
A lifetime of pain and rejection, or even this current season of turmoil, can take a toll on your joy.
In John 4, we meet a woman who has been the object of ridicule for her race, religion, and lifestyle choices. She is a Samaritan and while she doesn’t fit in with Jewish society, she also doesn’t fit in with her own people. Yet, Jesus sits down in this town of outcasts to wait for and speak with this woman of ill repute.
She comes mid-day in the heat of the sun to draw water at the well, possibly to avoid the town gossip. She has had five husbands and now lives with a man she has not married.
Her lifestyle was one of adultery, breaking one of the ten commandments (Exodus 20) she was very familiar with. There was no joy in the life she lived.
Jesus’ conversation with her changed her life and resurrected her joy. He tells her that he can offer her “a well of water springing up in eternal life.” Everlasting joy now and for eternity. Her joy was resurrected in her to the point of leaving her water jug, (the reason she came to the well in the beginning) and telling the people of Samaria about her encounter with the Messiah. Because of her joy, “they left the town and made their way to him” (John 4:30 CSB). Many more believed because of her resurrected joy and their encounter with Jesus.
Jesus didn’t change her past or her current circumstances, but He resurrected her hope which affected her outlook on life. You may have a past you are ashamed of or struggles you wish to change. Jesus can resurrect your joy and change your perspective. Joy that can help you overcome the challenges you face.
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5. Jesus Came to Resurrect Your Life
In Ezekiel 37, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of a valley of dry bones. This was a representation of the people of Israel. There were no signs of life or any possibility of resurrection until God breathed life into the bones.
This was a prophecy of Christ coming to breathe life into all who believe in Him.
First, he had to represent us in that valley of dry bones. He had to be convicted, tortured, and killed with no sign of life or possibility of a resurrection.
In John 20, Jesus had been in the tomb for three days. His friends and followers were hiding together for fear of arrest due to their connection with Him. They were also grieving together at the tragic loss of the One who had once resurrected their hope, calling, faith, and joy.
Out of love and duty, women went to the tomb to care for his body on the third day only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. In the days and weeks that followed, Jesus would reappear to his followers and friends, resurrecting their hope, calling, faith, and joy repeatedly. The breath of life breathed into Him by God, breathed life into the grieving hearts of His people.
Jesus was sent to this earth to resurrect you. He had to endure more torture and pain than any innocent man should so that each of us could live a resurrected life.
You may have lost your hope, calling, faith, and joy due to the struggles of life, but you have a God who has the power to breathe life into your dry bones. Pray and ask God to resurrect your life. Ask God to breathe life into you. Ask Him to help you live a resurrected life with hope, calling, faith, and joy.
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Leah Lively is a wife and mother of four living in central Virginia. Through writing and speaking opportunities, she is passionate about encouraging others in learning more about the Bible and maturing in their faith. Leah writes on her blog at leahlivelyblog.com and is the author of the Bible study, 30 Days with John: A Journey with Jesus’ Most Beloved Disciple.