July 4, 2011

His Resurrection Personality

This week I witnessed a 35 year old widow of four years remarry to a 35 year old, never-married bachelor who is ready, eager and prepared to serve as husband and father; the two in agreement with hopes to expand their new family. I said goodbye to a college friend of 37 who passed away from cancer and left behind a wife and two small children. I witnessed a high school friend give birth to her third healthy child. All of this within seven days I could not miss seeing the cycle of life in a very personal way. I wondered what could possibly comfort the newly widowed. The message which rings clear is that our God is the God of Resurrection. Anything He plants, He perfects – and the culmination of that perfection is Resurrection.

What happens when the lumber industry clears land for the trees? Do the trees not replenish themselves?

And what happens when a hard winter comes stripping the earth to barrenness and dryness? Does Spring not arrive like clockwork a few months later?

What happens when you cut your hair or burn your skin? Does it not return to you after a period of slow or painful waiting?

How can we human beings not recognize through all the signs and wonders we see, some signs occurring even within our own bodies, that a HUGE part of God’s personality is Resurrection? How can we see and experience so much resurrection in our midst and overlook the greatest, grandest, most dramatic resurrection to come?

“And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

Firstborn from the dead.

Firstborn indicates that more will follow. Jesus resurrected in the flesh from the grave after defeating death with the sole purpose to be – the FIRST of MANY.

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

“For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4

God wills Resurrection. He insists upon it. God goes to extreme lengths to display resurrection in all of creation and in the marvelous birth, crucifixion, burial and resurrection of His son Jesus, so that many will believe and receive the gift of life after death. The message is so solid and true, it can not be disputed. See how Jesus uses nature to explain this process:

“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:23-24

Death reeks of loss, pain and sadness. But who among us grieves for the apple seed that falls into the soil and dies? None of us do, because the result of that sacrifice reaps measureless pleasures. The fruit is worth more than the seed. Can we not look at deaths and losses on this earth in a similar frame? The bountiful harvest promised to us is worth a bushel of seeds.

God does not neglect to notice that demise causes great discomfort. The Bible says that even the earth, the ground, the trees, the animals and the clouds grieve and groan for their awaited resurrection.

“that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:21-23

None of us will be neglected. Even the earth will receive its resurrection.

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1

Resurrection can not be dissected from God’s personality. It is His personality. He did not create us to forfeit us, but to perfect us. His plan to resurrect His people and His creation from the jaws of death is inevitable. Death is only temporary pit stop, a phantom victory for the enemy. May this resurrection plan already in motion be a comfort to those presently enduring death’s brief blow.

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