I’ve been blessed to see God’s miraculous intervention in many different situations in my life, such as the time He answered a plea from me with a pair of shooting stars, or when He provided just the right building for our ministry at the moment we needed it. I’m sure you’ve also experienced your heavenly Father’s surprises. We never know what’s coming, but that’s part of the delight of belonging to an awesome and loving God.
As stunned as we sometimes are by His works, nothing could have been more surprising than when He raised His Son from the dead. Imagine what that was like for people living at the time. They had seen men die on crosses before, and none had ever come back to life. So it’s understandable that no one expected Jesus to rise from the grave. Even His disciples thought His death was final, though He’d repeatedly told them He would rise again (Matt. 20:19).
None of Jesus’ followers were sitting at the tomb waiting for His resurrection. The women who did come expected to find His dead body. When the women told the disciples the good news, they thought it was nonsense (Luke 24:11). Only after Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw the linen wrappings without a body would they believe (Luke 24:12).
Even today many people don’t think Jesus rose from the dead. But the resurrection is a foundation of Christianity, and believing it is crucial for salvation (Rom. 10:9). Rising from the grave after taking our sins upon Him proves that Jesus could not be destroyed by those sins. He paid the debt in full, and returned alive. If He were still in the grave, under the weight of our sin, how could He be our Savior? We believe the resurrection because the Word of God teaches it, because God reveals the truth to us, and because we can sense Christ living within our hearts. To us, His resurrection is personally knowable. And it changes not only our eternity, but our daily lives. What does that mean?
Because Christ lives, we are never alone. Jesus told His disciples He would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit to live within them forever (John 14:16-18). He also said, just before He ascended into heaven, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). As the Good Shepherd, Jesus never abandons His sheep (John 10:12-14).
Who else can make this promise to you? Even if others’ intentions are sincere, many events in life are outside their control. People move away, loved ones die, and friends can become indifferent or even hostile, but your resurrected Lord will always be with you.
Second, because Jesus is alive, we don’t have to worry about whether God will provide for us. Jesus told His followers that the Father, who takes care of birds and flowers, would also provide for them (Matt. 6:25-34). This promise would have meant nothing if Jesus had been just a man who died and remained in the grave. But He overcame death because He’s the Son of God. This means He has the power to keep every promise He makes.
How often do you fret about your needs not being met? Are you quick to talk to others about them instead of immediately turning to the resurrected Christ for help? He will never fail to keep this promise, even though it may not be in the way or at the time you’re expecting. But know this: Nothing is too large for His sovereign hands to handle.
Third, since Jesus was resurrected, we can have peace in the most difficult times. Before His crucifixion, Christ told His disciples, “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:27). The world’s peace depends on good circumstances, but His peace sustains us as we go through life’s storms.
When troubles overwhelm you, remember that you have a risen Savior who sits at the Father’s right hand interceding for you (Heb. 7:25). He invites you to confidently draw near in prayer to receive mercy and grace to help in your time of need (Heb. 4:16). He understands your weaknesses, and will lovingly use hardships to strengthen and mature you.
Finally, because Jesus overcame death, so will we. When He returns, the bodies of those of us who’ve passed will be resurrected just like His was (Phil. 3:20-21). What’s more, if we finish our race before He comes again, He has assured us that we’ll immediately enter into His presence (2 Cor. 5:8).
The hope you have because of Christ’s resurrection can be summed up in the words of an old hymn that says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone.” Never think that the resurrected Christ is idly seated in heaven, unconcerned about your life. No, Jesus is actively interceding for you and fulfilling all the promises He made to you, sometimes in completely unexpected ways. Look to Him. Rejoice in Him. And let Him surprise you with His glory, power, and faithful love.
Charles F. Stanley
P.S. All of us here at In Touch Ministries would like to wish you a joyful celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. I pray this season will fill you with hope and confidence for the future. No matter what situations you’re facing, you can trust that your life is secure in the Savior’s loving hands.