Tag Archive for resurrection

Foreshadowing the Resurrection

If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.
You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.
(Job 14:14-15, NIV)

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes…
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27, NIV)

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11, NIV)

God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:15, NIV)

He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples…
He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.
(Isaiah 25:7-8, NIV) 

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out
by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley;
it was full of bones…He asked me, “Son of man, can these
bones live?”…So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath
entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—
a vast army. (Ezekiel 37:1, 3, 10, NIV)

Adam and Eve turned away from God, though He had warned them that if they did, “they would surely die” (Genesis 2:17, NIV). But as He pronounced judgment on them, He also promised that the Seed of Eve would someday crush Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15). Life would come from death.

During Noah’s time, our sin had become so bad that God destroyed our entire race with a flood, saving only Noah’s family. But when it was over, God promised, “Never again will I destroy all living creatures” (Genesis 8:21, NIV). In the struggle with sin, life would win.

Joseph faced imminent death, slavery, injustice, and prison, but emerged as prime minister of Egypt. Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness, and whoever looked upon it was saved from death. The three Hebrew children were thrown into a fiery furnace but emerged unscathed. Elijah raised the widow’s son. When Ezekiel spoke God’s Word, an entire valley of dry bones came to life.

All these were glimpses, foretastes, anticipations of God’s greatest miracle: death itself would die and would be removed from all creation forever. God’s own Son would conquer it. He would endure a horrible death, then rise again, and in His train He would bring an entirely new race of holy, redeemed, glorified children of God.

Easter is a time to celebrate! Thanks be to God!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Didn’t He Rise!
Printed Music & Lyrics

I Will Raise Him Up

from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 6:35-58

Jesus had just fed the five thousand. The crowd followed Him with determination, hoping for more free food, wanting to make Him their king. He repeatedly urged them not to seek physical bread that would satisfy only the body and only for a few hours. He implored them to seek Himself instead, the True Bread. He would satisfy all their desires forever.

Notice how Jesus repeatedly pushed them to raise their sights above the here and now:

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” 

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” 

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:39-40, 44, 54, NASB)

Notice that eternal life is His personal promise: “I Myself will raise him up” (John 6:40, NASB). This everlasting life is the collaboration of Father and Son. It is the Father’s will and the Father’s work, accomplished through the Son. Thus Jesus hammers home the assurance that endless life is absolutely certain for all who simply trust Him. No hungering, no thirsting, no dying, ever. The Father and the Son, the Almighty Creator and His sovereign Word, guarantee it.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Shall Rise in Jesus Christ!
Printed Music & Lyrics

A Celebration of Life

Read the book of Ecclesiastes. It paints a thoughtful and poignant picture of life that inevitably ends in death. If everyone dies, if after all, death has the final word, what is the point?

Meaningless! Meaningless!…
Utterly meaningless!
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun;
all of them are meaningless,
a chasing after the wind.
(Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14, NIV) 

All our lofty virtues – wisdom, nobility, hope, love – are reduced to naïve self-deception. They are intended for a broader reality that simply doesn’t exist. Embrace the shallow and the temporary, for they are the only things that are real.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead changes all that. It transforms the entire context and meaning of life on this earth. God’s life conquers death. Life and love, light and joy, blessing and beauty are eternal. Goodness makes sense. Self-sacrifice is not only noble but logical. It is turning loose of something good in order to grasp something greater.

As we accept a personal relationship of trust with our almighty, loving God, He shares His life with us. His Spirit becomes one with our spirit. We share His being, and though this body dies, His life, and His life in us, goes on forever. In fact, He guarantees us a new and more wonderful body, one designed for an eternity in His immediate presence.

Easter is the pivotal point of all human existence. As we simply trust our Creator, we become eternal, glorious creatures, sharing His life forever. The tyranny of death is shattered.

He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
(Isaiah 25:7-8, NIV)

Celebrate! Celebrate Easter every day as it deserves to be celebrated: with praise, thanksgiving, joy, love, and lavish self-giving.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: A Celebration of Life
Printed Music & Lyrics

Ezekiel: A Vision of New Life

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Ezekiel 37:1-14, 23-28

The Israelites were sitting in Babylon, far from home, helpless captives of their enemies. They were a people defeated and disgraced. Their religion, their lifestyle, everything they had and had known was gone. Their nation no longer existed. They felt abandoned by their God – though in fact, they had abandoned Him.

In Ezekiel 36:16-38, God had made amazing promises to these people through His prophet, Ezekiel, who was there ministering as an exile among them. But such incredible assurances needed to be more than lofty words, so God confirmed the words with a vision, recorded in Ezekiel 37:1-10.

Ezekiel sees an entire valley full of human bones – very dry and very dead, beyond any hope of life. God challenges Ezekiel with the question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

God commands Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones – that is, to speak God’s sovereign Word to them. When he does, the bodies first come back together as corpses. Then, at the Word of God through Ezekiel, God’s breath* brings them back to life, and they stand up on their feet – a vast army (v.10). Note that the same elements that brought life to the unformed earth – God’s sovereign Word and His Spirit* – now bring new life to what was dead.

What a stunning picture of the new life that God’s Spirit brings to us now and at the resurrection! The same Breath* of God that renews us now will soon bring us a completely new life, both spiritually and physically. 

Why is God so unbelievably lavish with His undeserving people? Because He passionately wants the entire world, every nation, every society, every family, every person, to know how holy, gracious, and forgiving He is. Ephesians 1:6 & 12 tell us that we were created and redeemed to show the world how good and loving is our wonderful God. Never forget that this is our calling. This is why we are here.

*In the original Hebrew of this passage, the words translated “Spirit”, “breath”, and “wind” are all the same word. God’s Spirit is the wind of His power and the breath of His love. God’s Spirit is His life in motion.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Ezekiel’s Vision
Printed Music & Lyrics

Risen with Christ

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,
the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
(1 Corinthians 15:20-22, NIV)

In Jesus Christ we are
risen from eternal death,
risen from slavery to sin,
risen from darkness and futility.

In Jesus Christ we are
risen to eternal life,
risen to be like Christ,
risen to completeness in Him.

In Jesus Christ we are
seated at the right hand of God,
kept by His sovereign love,
robed in every spiritual blessing.

Praise be to Him forever and ever!

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Risen from Eternal Death
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Christ of Easter

from A Christ-centered Year

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
(1 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)

During Easter, Jesus is the Life of the Father,
overcoming death and sin forever.

Consider the power of His Life in your life.
He became a helpless infant,
so He doesn’t recoil at your weakness.

He wrapped Himself in shame, rejection, and homelessness,
so He isn’t offended by your lowliness.

He poured Himself out in teaching and healing,
so He warmly embraces you in your ignorance and need.

He begged forgiveness for His torturers.
so He will not abandon you in your sin.

He silently accepted all the abuse His enemies could dish out,
so He will not be frightened away by anything you might do.

The Life that spoke all life into existence
could not be defeated by death—
not in Christ and
not in you.
This Life took the worst that evil could give and
emerged the Conqueror.

You have absolutely nothing to fear.
Not now.
Not ever.
The unconquerable Life is now your life. 

“Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3, NIV)

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54, NIV)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Christ Is Alive! We Live in Him!
Printed Music & Lyrics

God’s Kingdom Comes

As I study the gospels, I repeatedly encounter events that appear small from a human perspective but loom large from God’s perspective.

The Transfiguration
(Matthew 16:28 – 17:9)

Jesus referred to the Transfiguration as “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28, NASB) and “the kingdom of God…come with power” (Mark 9:1, NASB). That’s quite a build-up. And to be sure, the transfiguration provided a spectacular glimpse of the true glory of Christ, in the face of His coming humiliation and suffering. But only three disciples experienced it, and apparently only for a few fleeting moments. How is that the powerful coming of Jesus in His Kingdom?

John the Baptist and Elijah
(Matthew 17:10-13)

The appearance of Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration caused the disciples to ask about Elijah. Prophecy had promised that he would return and prepare the people for the “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5, NASB; read vv.5-6). Jesus said that Elijah would “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11, NASB) and that John the Baptist was this returned Elijah. But John the Baptist’s ministry was relatively short, and his acceptance was limited. Herod silenced him, bringing his life to a premature and brutal end. To say that John restored all things seems a wild overstatement.

The Triumphal Entry
(Matthew 21:1-11)

Throughout His ministry, Jesus had consistently discouraged any open proclamation of His being Messiah. But then He arranged His own parade, encouraging Jerusalem to welcome Him as their Messiah. When the Jewish leaders protested, Jesus emphasized the absolute necessity and inevitability of such praise, saying that if His followers were silent, the very stones would cry out. But on a human level, all this seems a false promise. In this very city, within the week the civil and religious leaders would arrest, humiliate, execute, and bury this Messiah as a pretender and a criminal.

Cleansing the Temple
(Matthew 21:12-13)

After triumphantly entering Jerusalem as a conqueror, Jesus went to the temple and cleared it of commercial interests. He did this in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-3, which foretold that the Lord would come suddenly to His temple and purify it completely. Jesus also connected His actions to Isaiah 56:3-8, where God promised to make His house a house of prayer for all nations, a place where outsiders would be welcomed and blessed. Yet it is unlikely that Jesus’ cleansing of the temple had any lasting effect. It doesn’t seem to measure up to the dramatic promises of Malachi and Isaiah.

The Resurrection
(Matthew 28:1-8)

We Christians make much of the resurrection of Jesus. But apparently the risen Christ appeared only to His followers, not to anyone else. Forty days later He was gone. Meanwhile, this whole world suffers on in the iron grip of death. Every one of us continues to die.

So why did Jesus and why does Scripture make so much of these events? To human eyes, they seem so partial and passing.

But indeed, the changes begun by each of these events are dramatic, deep, and very real:

  • The Kingdom of God—the presence and rulership of God—has come to us in Jesus. It has come in power and glory. By faith we see and interact daily with the glorified Christ.
  • The repentance and forgiveness preached by John are even now restoring right relationships between God and us and among His people. We are living in the peace of these restored relationships.
  • With exuberant praise, we His disciples welcome Jesus as our Messiah, our conquering hero who is delivering us from all oppression.
  • Jesus Christ is Himself the holy temple of God among us. He is purifying us to make us part of that holy temple.
  • Even now we are breathing the undying, unbounded life of Christ, and we will breathe it forever.

The Kingdom of God has come to us in Jesus Christ! It is growing in and among us through His Spirit. And in Him, it will soon come in all its power and glory.

Jesus’ life is a promise of all that soon will be for each and all of His people.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: See His Kingdom Come in Power
Printed Music & Lyrics

Emmaus Road

Now that same day two…were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 

“Jesus of Nazareth…was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:13-17, 19-21, NIV)

Like these two disciples,
we are often distressed at God’s actions.
We don’t understand what He is doing…
or what He is not doing.

Because we don’t understand which problem He is addressing.
We think the problem is our circumstances
or “the Romans”
or some other person.
The problem God is addressing is
The problem is our failure to seek and trust
only Him.

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: I Walk the Dark Emmaus Road
Printed Music & Lyrics


I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end
he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
(Job 19:25-27, NIV)

We have a hope
that flows deeper than grief.
We have a joy
that no sorrow can take away.
We have a confidence
that no darkness can shake.
We have a life
that no death can ever destroy.

“Do not be afraid.
I am the First and the Last.
I am the Living One;
I was dead, and
behold I am alive for ever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
(Revelation 1:17-18, NIV)

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Printed Music & Lyrics