Many of us celebrated the resurrection of Jesus just two days ago. It was a weird Sunday. Maybe the first one where you haven’t been to the church building on Easter in your life. The first one where you haven’t sat around a table overflowing with family members and ham, mac and cheese, deviled eggs, and bread. It may be the first Easter where you had pizza for your meal (like me) or where you didn’t have the annual Easter egg hunt with all the kiddos. Easter looked different this year but the meaning of the day is still the same – He is risen. From death, back to life. He has been resurrected.
The word resurrection up until this year to me was just an odd word. It was a church word. One I knew but didn’t fully understand outside of Jesus. If used in context outside of church, the word means “the revitalization or revival of something”. To make something new. To give it new life. To revive it.
Have you ever taken something old at your home and given it new purpose? A new life? Like that ladder that now holds your blankets? Or that old baby changing table that with some new knobs and spray paint that now displays all of your indoor plants? Or that old painting that you repurposed into a chalkboard for your kitchen? Or that old sewing table that with sanding and a new coat of paint is now an adorable night stand?
All of these things have been given new life. It took work, maybe some elbow grease, potentially some tears, and likely some patience. Some are given new life more quickly than others; but they all required change in order for the new life to begin.
That’s what I think about when I hear resurrection. It means changed; but changed with the purpose to give new life. Something had to die in order for the new to come.
I am not a biblical scholar by any means, but when I hear about new life and new hearts and new beginnings, I think about the below passage from Ezekiel, in the Old Testament.
Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
In this verse, Ezekiel is sharing with the exiled Israelites about the newness that can come only from God. What’s interesting is that God doesn’t promise them to fix their hearts. To better align them or to alter them. He offers a completely new heart. Without our hearts, we would die. So he’s offering a new opportunity at life with this new heart.
This same message aligns with what Paul shares later in the book of 2 Corinthians where he shares this with the people of Corinth:
2 Corinthians 5:17 -Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come.
The new has arrived. Jesus comes on the scene. He’s born, lives to about 30 preaching for only about 3 of those years, then He is crucified, died and is buried. He’s there for three days and when Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to check on him, the tomb is empty. Hallelujah!
The plan was always for Jesus to die and in three days rise from the grave. He does it for us. So that WE can come into a new life through him. That we can have a new heart not of stone but a heart of flesh. He died on that cross so we didn’t have to. Really think about that. He most literally suffered hanging on a cross with nails in his feet and hands, hanging there, blood as all heck. Just for you. How powerful is that?
In Jesus we have resurrection. We come into relationship with him and our lives are changed forever. I know that’s true for me and if you’re a believer I’m sure it’s true for you too. We have an opportunity in Christ to live differently. To live again. To live new. With sins washed away. With a clean slate. But that’s not the only resurrection afforded to us. Yes, it’s the biggest and most important resurrection I will experience in my own life, but there’s also a resurrection in each day.
What do I mean? Each day dies with the sunset and begins the next day with a sunrise. Each day we have the opportunity to start fresh. To rise with new life. The book of Lamentations says it this way:
Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Each day you are forgiven. God doesn’t keep count of your sins like a record book. He forgives them. He is merciful each day and that in itself is such a gift. So if we have a clean slate each day when we are in relationship with Him, we have an opportunity to live each day as a new person. To live the absolute best version of ourselves. We experience a daily resurrection, shedding the old to embrace the new.
Don’t get me wrong, resurrection is beautiful when it’s done, but really messy in the middle. Remember the sanding, and the painting, and the sweat, and maybe the tears from repurposing your old items? Remember the thorns, and the blood, and the nails, and the pain, and the loneliness and suffering Jesus experienced during his death? The middle of resurrection is UGLY. It’s painful and hard and a place that is usually easiest to ignore. But it can’t be skipped. We must sit in the tension of resurrection.
We must sit in the place between Friday when Jesus died and Sunday when he rose again. The Silent Saturday where the disciples had a “what the heck just happened?!” moment, and when they got to experience Jesus “in the flesh” again. This middleground, this Silent Saturday, is a place of fear, a place of sorrow, a place of hearts and minds being changed, and it’s also a place of preparation for what’s to come. Jesus rose on Sunday. The tomb was empty and he was alive. What was so sad and messy and ugly is beautiful. Its new life. It’s a fresh start. It’s resurrection.
Let us all remind ourselves each morning of the new mercies we are afforded. That at sunset our old selves perished, and at dawn with the sunrise, we are afforded a new beginning. And a chance to live a life of the best versions of ourselves.
Luke 24:5-9 – The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, to be crucified, and on the third day rise again? Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven to all the rest.
Sending prayers for new life, new beginnings, and daily resurrection for you all.