The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”—Matthew 28:5,6

I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”—Ezekiel 37:2,3

It’s Easter Week.  If this coming Sunday is anything like Easter last year, our building will be overflowing with people for a few hours, who will come for a variety of reasons.  Some will be sincere worshipers, coming to celebrate, to praise God for the cross and the empty tomb.  Some will be there because they are seeking God, trying to figure out what they believe about spiritual things.  Some are broken and hurting, and they come hoping God can mend their hearts and their lives.  Some will come because it’s a habit, a tradition, and they have a faith that occupies a small part of their heart but doesn’t define their lives much outside of the occasional Sunday morning.  Some will be there because someone else wants them to be, and they will be checking their watches, wondering how long until lunch.

While we are gathered together in that room, we’ll hear the story once again of how Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead.  It’s the most incredible thing that has ever happened in the history of the world.  And yet for many of us, the story is so familiar that we have a hard time appreciating it, although we know we should.  We have read the story and heard the sermons time and time again, and if we’re honest it’s grown a little stale.

In part, this is because we’re talking about a miracle which, despite how amazing it is, doesn’t always feel like it meets our needs at the moment.  We know, of course, that our greatest need is for the gift of eternal life, because one day we will stand before the Judge of our souls, and what happens after that goes on forever and ever.  But in the moment, when our finances are discouraging or our body is unwell or our children have us at our wits’ end, eternal life seems far off and unreal, and we feel that what we need most is for God to show up right now and help us with the things that are right in front of us.

So you might put it this way:  what does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with what I’m facing this week?  How does it help me in my daily life?  Here are two of the answers to that question, although I’m sure there are many more:

First, Jesus’ victory over death helps us face the future with hope.  As believers, we often forget what it’s like to be a non-believer, and to live without any certain hope for the future.  We take eternity for granted.  We forget that while we are saying “eternal is fine and good, but what about next week?” the non-believers around us are living without an anchor, without anything concrete to hold onto that would give them hope for next week OR life after death.  The truth is that if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, even when your life is painful and discouraging, you are living with far higher levels of hope and joy and peace than the lost people around you.  More than you realize, the hope of heaven IS affecting the way you live each day, giving you a supernatural strength to face life’s challenges that many people have never experienced.

Next, Jesus’ victory over death shows us that He is Lord over all things, big and small.  We will only need help facing death once, but our need for God to breathe life into dead things is constant.  When Jesus showed that he is stronger than death, he showed that He is stronger than everything.  He is the One who can give new life to our faith when it goes cold and stale.  He is the One who can resurrect your marriage when it feels like all hope is lost.  He can deliver us from the death of sin and addiction and give us true life and true freedom.  He can heal wounded and broken hearts.  He can take that person you are praying for and replace their spiritual deadness with a living faith.  The empty tomb doesn’t just mean that we will live forever (which is still the best part), it means that there is nothing that can’t be transformed by Jesus’ touch.

What are the things you need God to breathe life into at the moment?  Do you believe that the cross is the proof of His love for you, and the empty tomb is the proof of His ability to do for His children whatever they need?  This week, as you reflect on the Easter story, remember that the same God who sent His Son to die in our place and then called Him out of the grave wants to show the world the power of His resurrection in the everyday lives of His children.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.—Romans 6:4

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