April’s theme is on resurrection…a term in the Greek New Testament that at its core means “to rise up to a better status” (BDAG anastasis – See Luke 2:34). It just so happens that when a dead person is raised up to a better status that is not just any regular sort of uplifting…that is “resurrection”!
The rhythm of life seemed locked in from life to death over and over again across human history until someone broke the mold. Someone stood out from the all the rest who had ever gone before and showed us that it doesn’t always have to be that way. There is a way to die before you die in order to truly live forever (Matt 16:24-27).
That man was Jesus Christ. He endured the cross, went through the cruelest death imaginable…death on a Roman cross. It was such a horrendous and shameful way to die, some ancient Romans wrote that the “Stauros” (cross) was a profane word, not fit for sensitive ears. Jesus went through this horrible, shameful death, through the grave and back out again on the other side alive again! He invites us on that same journey that he first blazed the trail on for us. Resurrection is one of the most hopeful words in the English language. It is the solution to the age old, unavoidable problem of death.
Resurrection is also a “power word”…a word that screams authority. Romans 5:14-21 remind us of that. Here is 5:17-21,
“If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord“
Sin exercised dominion (reigned) so that grace also might exercise dominion (reign) through justification leading to eternal life. God did not leave us under the power of sin and death. God did not leave us subject to judgment. Instead, God justified us and gave us eternal life through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the language of resurrection.
As we discuss resurrection this month we are going to be talking about more than eternal life. We are going to share stories of resurrected relationships, resurrected ministries, and resurrected ministers…seeing something that seemed dead come back to life is a powerful reminder of the God who revels in resurrection!
One interesting side note, the Greek verb to crucify is a compound word adding this root (anastasis) to the word cross (stauros) to get anastaurao…”to raise up on a cross.”