For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. – 1 Corinthian 15:3-8 ESV
Whether you call it Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, it is over! The eggs have been colored, hidden, found and many already eaten. The candy has been put in bowls, given away, put in bags marked with the children’s name- for future consumption, or already eaten. The great celebration of the Resurrected King has come to an end and now its back to school, back to work, back to living in this world as a child of God, when the world wants nothing to do with Jehovah or His life-giving Son, Jesus. NOW WHAT? Now it is time to LIVE IT, LIKE IT MATTERS. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is about NEW BEGINNINGS about a renaissance. Renaissance is defined as a REVIVAL of or RENEWED interest in something. This is what happened at the FIRST EASTER celebration. This is what happened when the SUBSTANCE, hadn’t yet created, the SHADOW. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-46,50-54)
Leader, to RE VIVE, is to bring back to life! This is what we are called to do after JESUS ROSE, we too RISE! It is time to RISE UP, called out one! To LIVE YOUR LIFE, LIKE HIS RESURRECTION MATTERS! We seek God many times to fulfill a need, a want or to fix a problem. It is called Jailhouse religion. When things get back, we seek out God. When things get better we think we are good, we GOT THIS and the need, or desire for God ceases and we get back to the flesh, we get back to our old ways, we get back to the world! Did you read what happened when Jesus defeated death? Did you pay attention to what happened when JESUS ROSE, others who were dead rose too? It was in the middle of the verses I shared above, and so many people miss it in scripture, and so they miss it in life it was in V52-53, let me reshare it, and this time LISTEN TO THE WORD OF THE LORD: “The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many”. Dead people AWOKE and were REVIVED and they lived again! Did you notice the impact of others seeing formerly DEAD people, now ALIVE? You need to pay attention because this is how we impact others for CHRIST! Those that were formerly dead are NOW ALIVE! Today, as was true in Jesus’ day, when He who was dead, is now alive- that gets people’s attention. Verse 54 brings you the conclusion, Hear the Word of the LORD: “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” A picture truly is worth 1000 words! The testimony of seeing those that were dead, now alive in CHRIST, caused others to BELIEVE in the SON OF GOD!
Conduit, seeing someone who was once DEAD (in their sin and trespasses), comes to LIFE and is REVIVED to a NEW HOPE it creates believers! Has the fact that Jesus LIVES in your life, caused others around you to believe? Again, Jesus gives us the example, Jesus told us that He is our example. He said, what I do you do; Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 6:14) We have a great example of this with those closest to Jesus, His brothers. Hear the Word of the Lord; James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1). This is James, the half-brother of Jesus writing this, and yet he doesn’t claim the identity of that fleshly relationship! Why doesn’t he tell us that? James doesn’t claim sibling connection, because he NOW KNOWS, Jesus is GOD! He NOW understands that this is the most important relationship to Jesus. That Jesus is Lord of James’ life and James is a servant to the Most High God. But James didn’t always think this way. In John 7:5, we see that his brothers didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God. “For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.” Jesus’ brothers actually thought He was crazy! Hear the Word of the Lord; When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21). What changed James’ mind from thinking Jesus was crazy to actually being the Son of God? The resurrected Jesus. The change in that BELIEF, caused JAMES to LIVE and DIE for the GOSPEL! After Jesus’ death James was SOLD OUT. He became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He became a devout man of prayer and of God. He prayed so much he became known as ‘JUST JAMES”. Nobody was considered more righteous than James. James was called to deny that Jesus was the Messiah, and when he refused, they KILLED HIM. 2nd century historian, Hegesippus, records the events of James’ death. “…They went up and threw down the just man (from the temple height) and said to each other, “Let us stone James the Just.” And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall, but he knelt down and said, “I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” One of them, who was a fuller(launderer), took the club with which he beat the clothes and struck the just man in the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. (Biblical Archeological Review 2002) When we believe JESUS is the SON OF GOD, and that He suffered, died, was buried, and rose again FOR US, and INSTEAD of us! When we believe this, we then ACT AS IF, and our lives change and then others notice, and want to know, WHAT IS DIFFERENT? Today, may you be encouraged to remember that Jesus has RISEN from the grave. He is alive! That should change everything. Whatever you are going through, Jesus is alive, and therefore there is HOPE. Not only is Jesus alive, but He also has given all those who believe in Him new life as well. RISE UP soldier, for HE IS RISEN! Be changed, be REVIVED!