Focal Passage: John 20:1-31
Christmas without Easter would have been forgotten! Preaching the Cross is the greatest message of all. But there would be no message if Christ had not risen from the grave.
Resurrection power and the living presence of the risen Christ substantiated all His teaching, made believers out of fearful disciples, and gave Thomas opportunity to declare his faith in the immortal words: “My Lord and my God!” When Mary heard the familiar voice say her name, she exclaimed “Rabbouni!” which means teacher. She moved to embrace the Lord and Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me.” He knew that she and others would want to keep Him in His human form. We too can cling to the incarnate Christ, Jesus, and all His teaching and healing and miracles — and never experience the power of the Resurrection.
Recent frigid weather has caused many pipes to burst. When water freezes it expands and moves whatever is in the way. Pipes burst, rocks move up in the ground with a secret power which becomes undeniable by any who observe it. When Mary met the risen Lord she went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” Her testimony revived their faith and prepared them to be obedient followers of Christ. Remember Acts 1:8, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses!” Who moved the stone? Angels, the power emanating from the rising Christ, the very power of God Himself who overcame death, the grave, evil, and the power of darkness. “He is risen! Hallelujah! Christ is risen indeed!”
Power is available to all who believe. Through the words of Scripture we have many witnesses of the risen Lord. Only when we look in faith to Him who died for our sins and confess our faith in His power to overcome sin for us can we become witnesses to the risen Lord.
Thomas, often called “Doubting Thomas,” was unsure until he experienced a personal encounter with Christ. He responded with the great words: “My Lord and my God” (v. 28). Only when we have a personal relationship with Christ can we experience His power, the power of salvation to all who believe. Jesus did not scold Thomas for his doubt. Rather Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed” (v. 29).
The power of the Resurrection. In the early days of space exploration we all watched with wonder when Cape Canaveral shook with the awesome power that lifted rockets off the earth. Tremendous power was required to get the ship into orbit at just the perfect altitude, speed, and angles to be able to accomplish the mission. Resurrection power is that power which validates the Cross and affirms the gospel of Christ. No human engineer designed the flight from heaven to earth. No human power thrust Christ from the tomb. The Cross and the Resurrection together were born in the heart of God.
Leonard Ravenhill has a classic sermon from Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him, and the power of His Resurrection. …” Ravenhill says: “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the standard of power in the New Testament. … Calvary expresses the love of God. … The Resurrection explains the power of God.”
Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The Cross and Resurrection unite to form the foundation of the gospel (see I Corinthians 1:18).
Resurrection power is available today. Not only did this power release Jesus from death and the grave, and give salvation to all who believe. Resurrection power enables us to live the Christian life from the internal power source of Christ within. A good battery cannot start a car if there is corrosion on the cables. Neither can we have access to the power of Christ if we have the corrosion of sin in our lives. Just as cold weather tests car batteries so the world does its best to block the flow of God’s limitless power in our daily lives. God’s supply is strong as ever.
Check your cables for corrosion. Tighten the connection and experience Resurrection power today.
— Dean lives in Orlinda. He is the retired executive director of the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association