The Power of the Resurrection
Many years ago I encountered the truth of the gospel message that specifically centered on one verse of scripture:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5: 24 NIV)
At the time I spent six weeks meditating on the implications of that verse until an incomprehensible joy infused my entire being centered in the thought, “I am never going to die.” I realized that I had passed over from death to life right then and there. This was not something that would happen sometime in the future but my eternal life had begun now. I had heard the word of Jesus; I had believed in the One who had sent Jesus; and, therefore, I had crossed over from death to life. An amazing transformation had both happened and begun. I believe I would liken the result of that encounter as the first crack in the opening of the chrysalis of a butterfly. I believe I had encountered the power of the resurrection.
What I have come to realize over the years is that most Christians stop the engagement with eternal life with the promise of the resurrection of the dead. In fact, the community of believers as a whole has made the promise of the resurrection of the dead the basis of living. Jesus came to give us life, joy, peace, power, and all of the benefits of life as we live on the earth right now; not only at the future time of the resurrection of the dead. The very next verse confirms what I have just declared:
“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5: 25 NIV)
All of the benefits of life are fully ours right now. We do not need to wait until sometime in the future when the power of the resurrection is applied to us. Jesus very clearly said, “a time is coming and has now come.” This is the time. We do not need to wait for another time. We do not need to wait for a future time. The time has come.
How is this applied to us who are walking around in very earthly bodies? It is applied through what Jesus emphasized throughout his ministry:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7: 24 – 27 NIV)
We are washed and made clean through the word that Jesus has spoken to us: “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15: 3, 4 NIV)
The power of the resurrection is active now. We enter into Christ by being washed with His word. As His word is continually applied to our lives we are transformed more and more into the image of Jesus. We are meant to bear fruit that will last. We are destined to produce lasting fruit within ourselves as we become more like Jesus in character and power and lasting fruit outside of ourselves as we witness to the power of the resurrection to others.