Know the Power

Resurrection Power

Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection…”

Jesus’ resurrection involves power. Of course, there must be immeasurable power, indescribable power, unearthly power to bring a man back to life after he has been dead for three days. But the power of Jesus’ resurrection does not work only on Jesus. It works on us, too. It’s why Paul wanted to know Christ.

The power of Jesus’ resurrection is the power that makes us spiritually alive. A dead Christ inspires no faith. It can inspire fear. That’s the effect it had on Jesus’ disciples. They locked themselves behind closed doors because they were afraid they would be the next to go, the next to be arrested and executed. It can inspire grief, depression, hopelessness. Poor Mary Magdalene weeps alone at Jesus’ tomb. She is beside herself because not only is her Friend and Master dead. Now they have desecrated his tomb and taken his body away, and she has no proper place to mourn her loss.

At most, maybe a dead Christ can inspire curiosity. I once visited Rome, and I visited the Vatican. There you can see the mummified remains of four popes on display, each one kept under a glass case inviting the stares and the photographs of millions of visitors every year. I was curious to see the centuries-old bodies, too. But my interest was like the interest a person takes in the sideshow at the circus. It is true that during their lives these were some of the wealthiest, most influential, most powerful people on earth. But their dried and shriveled remains inspired no desire to know them, to trust them, or to follow them anymore.

Without a living Christ, this is what we are left with in this world: Fear of our own death and the sin for which we have to answer ourselves; grief, depression, and hopelessness; a life filled with losses beyond our understanding or control; and the occasional curious sideshow to distract us from the misery we live today, and the misery we fear will follow.

A Christ who takes my place under God’s judgment, dies on a cross for my crimes, and then walks out of his grave alive three days later with all the power and promise of heaven–that invades my soul and takes over my heart! Here is someone who invites more than my admiration or imitation. This is a man who deserves my complete trust and utter dedication. More than deserves it, he creates it. With his gospel the living Christ inserts faith right through my ears and eyes. He plants it deep inside my mind and heart. I want to know Christ because his resurrection has the power to make me spiritually alive. It fills me with faith, and from that faith flows a new life full of love, and hope, and joy.

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