This is a guest post by Andrew Brantley. Andrew is a member of Redemption and a seminary student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is also one of the tallest people I know.
Easter is a weird holiday. Think about it, once a year we celebrate Jesus coming back from the dead by unleashing children to hunt for chocolate-filled eggs delivered by a bunny. That’s strange, and I’m not really sure what the strangest part of it is. Is it the bunny with the eggs, or the man coming back to life?
The first Easter must have been so strange for the disciples. When Jesus died, their hope died with Him. Not a single one of them expected Jesus to walk out of the tomb after it was sealed. (And lest we be quick to blame the disciples for their lack of faith, we would likely have felt the same way.) But He did walk out of the tomb and that changed everything.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!” (Luke 24:5)
In fact, if Jesus were still dead we should despair. The cross means absolutely nothing without the resurrection.
The Apostle Paul put it like this: “If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
Death and suffering were clear realities for Christ’s followers the day after the cross, just as death, sin, and futility continue to dominate the world today. (If you don’t believe that, watch five minutes of the news tonight.) But through Jesus’ resurrection, God defeated the power of sin and reversed the curse of death that fell upon all of us when Adam rebelled against God in the garden.
Those of us who are in Christ Jesus can have a firm confidence that since Jesus was raised from the dead we, too, will be raised. And if we really, really believe that, it changes everything about the way we live in the present.
Paul encouraged the Corinthians with the incredible, life-giving news that flows from the resurrection, then concluded the chapter by saying, “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). He didn't say, “One day we’ll all get out of here and go to heaven, so what you do now doesn’t really matter.” Not at all! The resurrection means that what we do today impacts eternity.
So what is the work of the Lord? Remember that this letter was written to a group of ordinary Christians who had careers and families. The work of the Lord wasn’t (and isn’t) something reserved just for pastors; it’s for all of us. What does the work of the Lord look like?
- It looks like loving, leading, and listening to a difficult child.
- It looks like praying for and loving that friend or family member who wants nothing to do with Jesus.
- It looks like serving our brothers and sisters in the church with great love and patience.
- It looks like being generous with our money by giving to the church and those in need.
We believe in a God who brings life out of death, a God who makes sure suffering and death do not have the final word. Jesus has the final word, and He says that because of the resurrection what we do today is full of eternal significance.