Alive – not dead

The words “He is risen” strike a chord in the hearts of Christian believers – especially on Easter Sunday when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

But have these words made a difference in our lives? Have we changed? Are we still changing?

This morning, our pastor told us about the first of Jesus’ followers who found out that Christ had risen from the dead – Mary Magdalene.

She went to his tomb to dress his body with ointment. As she approached the tomb, she was certain Jesus was dead. She had watched him breathe his last two days earlier.

But her life was forever transformed when she saw the rock that covered the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away. An angel told her that Christ had risen from the dead.

From grief to incredible joy.

If we are followers of Christ, we all believe that Jesus rose from the dead. But do we act on this truth?

The early disciples did. This fact turned their world upside down. And they were so excited that they told everyone about it. And thousands believed on the basis of their testimony.

“He is risen” tells me something about God’s great power – the power of the resurrection as the apostle Paul called it. It tells me that God defeated Satan. It tells me that I can belong to God’s family and be with him forever – if I so choose.

But, putting my faith in Jesus also means that I belong to him forever. Paul put it this way in the great passage in Galations 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

In other words, Christ is the new me. Everything I do is governed by the Spirit of Christ. When I put my faith in Jesus, my old self joined Jesus on the cross and when Jesus rose from the dead, I rose with him.

As Paul said in Colossians 2:13, God made us alive with Christ.

The key to living as if we are alive in Christ is to live by faith that Christ is now in control.

It’s easy to say, but harder to live. As I read these words of Paul, I realize that I now fall far short of living as if Christ were in control.

But I take heart from Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6 that God has begun a good work in me and will continue doing so until that work is completed in me. He – not me – is doing the work in me.

I need to remember every day that “Christ is risen”. It is his power – not mine – that changes me.

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