Here in winter, the days seem to finish before they have barely begun. I wake to a frozen world, stark trees immobile in iron-hard earth, all swathed in layers of snow. The only movement is ice crystals glittering in pale dawn light. Before I know it, the blue twilight hour creeps in and it is time to draw the curtains. I find it hard to imagine this same earth green with life, birds flitting through leafy trees, the scent of flowers carried on a warm breeze. It will happen though. In the timeless rhythm of the seasons spring will come to thaw and warm and cause new life to grow. And so I am reminded by each new day, each new season speaking the word — Resurrection.
Jesus Christ did not just appear to be dead after His crucifixion; He actually died and was buried. Then the stale air of his sealed tomb was stirred by an intake of breath after three days of stillness, the whisper of a burial shroud discarded on stone.
Resurrection. The act of rising from the dead; the state of one who has returned to life. “I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified,” said the angel to the women at the tomb. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” – (Matt. 28:5-6 NIV)
I hardly dare to write the word, it so fills me with awe. But I need to be reminded, as my God well knows, so He revives the day after the death of night. In the depth of winter He suspends life then stirs the sap to run again in spring. He causes a kernel of wheat to fall to the ground and die so it can generate many seeds.
So why am I confounded by the necessity of my fleshly self dying to the things of this world so it can be resurrected to a life gradually being conformed to Christ? I am not speaking of salvation, my rebirth given me because of Christ’s sacrifice. This I will never lose or need to do over. It is my permanent position — a never-to-be-abandoned child of God. But every day, death is confronted. Death of greed, death of anger, death of envy, death of carelessness. I have the choice to give free reign to these sins, acting as though I am still in the grave of my old nature, or to step out of the already opened tomb into the fresh air of a renewed life with Christ.
“If you have heard Jesus and have been taught by Him according to the truth that is in Him, then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self—that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust— to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.” – (Eph. 4:23 The Voice)
Resurrection. There is pain in the death throes of my old nature grasping for a chance to assert itself. Sometimes it will win a brief skirmish, but the final battle is already won. I am unbound, like Lazarus — the grave clothes of sin stream away from the warm flesh and pumping blood of my new nature. I hear the voice of Jesus call me, “Come forth!” And I go to Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.