Living Like Jesus
You are on camera everywhere now—stores, banks, traffic intersections, etc. Big brother is watching. I wonder what we might have seen, if there had been a surveillance camera inside Jesus’ tomb. Would we have seen Jesus wake up, take off the wrappings, fold them, lay them to the side, push back the stone, and walk out of the tomb? Would we have seen a great flash of light and then seen the picture return to normal to reveal the grave clothes lying limp and empty? Perhaps we would have seen Jesus’ body simply disappear from one frame to the next. However, it happened—the good news is that Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! I believe that we can be like Jesus as we live in his resurrection power. Let me read Luke’s account of Jesus’ resurrection and then we will consider its implications for us.
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened (Luke 24:1-12 NIV).
Good News—Jesus Is Risen! (1-12)
The women were up at the crack of dawn to complete the burial of Jesus that had been delayed by the Jewish Sabbath. (1) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance and the body of Jesus gone. (2-3) Why was the stone rolled back? Was it to let Jesus out, or to let the women and disciples in? The women were astonished by two men, angels, in dazzling apparel. (4) They naturally reacted with fear and respect as they bowed with their faces to the ground. (5-7)
The first angel asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? (5b),” and then made the awesome declaration, “He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.” (6) “He has risen” (Gk., egerthe – passive = “has been raised”). Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection on several occasions as recorded in the gospels. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Lk 9:22, NIV). Jesus was raised by the power of God the Father. Paul says Jesus “. . . was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead . . .” (Ro 1:4, NIV).
The women “remembered” what Jesus had said, and this brought conviction about the reality of his resurrection. The women believed and went to tell the good news to the disciples. (8-9) The disciples did not receive the good news with joy. They doubted and thought the story “nonsense.” They did not immediately believe. (10-11) Peter RAN to the tomb; SAW the empty grave-clothes; and left WONDERING what had happened. (12) Peter’s “wondering” was a positive, questioning response to the resurrection. The resurrection rocked his world. he wondered what would happen next. What were the implications in his life of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection? Are you like Peter? Are you wondering about the implications of Jesus’ resurrection for your life almost 2K years after it took place? What does Jesus’ resurrection mean for us today?
What Does Jesus’ Resurrection Mean For Us?
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection is central to our mission and ministry as a church. Jesus’ resurrection is the theme of Luke 24 and occupies a central place in Acts. Proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection is still at the heart of our witness and preaching today. Christianity is at its core a religion of resurrection. There is an icon of the Phoenix bird in the stained glass of our central window. The mythical Pheonix is an ancient Greek sign of resurrection.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection is central to our new life in Christ. When we place faith in Jesus, we are raised up by the power of God to live in Jesus’ resurrection power. Our water baptism symbolizes our spiritual death, burial, and resurrection to new life in Jesus. Paul puts it this way, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Ro 6:4, NIV). You see, our eternal life actually begins the moment we believe and not when we die.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection is central to how we live our resurrection lives in him each day. Jesus’ death and resurrection validates the whole of his teaching. What He said must be accepted as truthful and must be followed by his disciples. We must be like Jesus and live like Jesus as much as possible. Paul says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers” (Ro 8:29, NIV). He also says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Ro 12:2a). During the season leading up to Easter I have challenged you to be like Jesus in several ways:
- We can lead others like Jesus by being ready with God’s help to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those God sends our way.
- We can face temptation like Jesus by preparing to face it with prayer and the Word of God as we trust God to provide, put God first, and submit ourselves to God’s plan.
- We can be patient like Jesus by not rushing to judge others but by repenting of our own sins in order to bear kingdom fruit to the glory of God.
- We can face rejection like Jesus by persevering instead of collapsing, by showing compassion instead of hatred, and by taking a long-term kingdom view instead of a short-term worldly view.
- We can seek the lost like Jesus by placing great value on sinners, by taking risks to reach out to them, by showing great compassion for them, and by rejoicing when they come to the Lord.
- We can pray like Jesus by pouring our hearts out to him for help in overcoming temptations and by allowing him to change our will to his will.
- We can live like Jesus because we have his resurrection power.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection must lead us to live uncommon lives. The word uncommon means “extraordinary, special, distinguished.” Truly, what Jesus did at Calvary and what the Father did by his power in raising Jesus from dead are uncommon—extraordinary, special, and distinguished! Jesus can never be associated with the ordinary or common. his life, death, and resurrection are extraordinary and uncommon. An important implication stemming from the uncommon thing that God has done for us by raising Jesus is that our individual lives and our shared life together as a church should be—uncommon.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection must cause us to look no longer look for the living among the dead but to take the resurrection life of Jesus to those who are dead in their sins.
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection must cause us to remember each day what Jesus taught and to allow that teaching to direct everything we say and do.
The reality of Jesus' resurrection must cause us to declare like the angel, “He is not here; he has risen.”
Let us arise and live like Jesus each day!