The resurrection isn’t just a past fact or future hope. It’s also a present experience.

This is adapted from “Ordinary Hero: Living the cross and resurrection in everyday life” by Tim Chester

RESURRECTION POWER

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:18-20)

Paul prays that Christians might realize the power that is ours in Christ. It’s the same power by which God raised Christ from the dead. On Easter morning, Jesus’ body lay dead and lifeless: flesh, rotting into dust. But God reached down and wrenched Jesus from the grave. God did what he did at creation: he brought life where there was no life (Romans 4:17). Death is the one force that no person can escape or overcome. But on that first Easter day, God took on death and won. He overcame the power of death. Paul talks of God’s “incomparably great power.”

Resurrection power is coursing through your veins. You’re like some spiritual superhero with untold power at your disposal. Really, you are.

RESURRECTION FREEDOM

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” (Romans 6:6-10)

Because we’re united to Christ in his death, his death becomes our death. And that means our old self with its inbuilt bias toward sin was crucified with Christ. It’s dead. It’s gone. We’re set free from its power. And we’re united with Christ in his resurrection, his life becomes our life. We’re free to live for God. The bondage of sin is broken and we receive new life. A revolution has taken place. The old regime of Sin has been toppled. The life-giving reign of Grace has been established in its place.

RESURRECTION LIFE

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5).

ordinary heroThere’s a life which is given to us at the end of time-the new life of bodily resurrection (John 5:24-25). A rotting, decaying dead body is what sin earns. As the flesh decays and stinks, we see the “value” of sin, the reward of sin, the true nature of sin. But if a stinking, rotting body is what sin earns, a glorious resurrection body is what grace gives. But there’s also a life that is given to us now in human history when we become Christians. One moment we were spiritually dead; the next we were spiritually alive. You may not be able to pinpoint when this tool place in your experience-many people experience conversion as a gradual transition. But there was a time when your were dead, closed to God, ignorant of him, hardened against him in a rebellion. But now, if you’re a Christian, you’re alive, open to God, knowing God and known by God, soft-hearted toward him in love. We’re no longer spiritually dead. We’re alive to God.

  • We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead at work in our lives. Do we honestly believe this? How would this belief impact our daily life?
  • We have been liberated from the power of sin. Is there a sin or idol in our life that is so powerful that we have stopped fighting against it? Do we believe we have been set free in Jesus?
  • We have the life of Jesus in us now; it is more than a future hope. Does our current life reflect the resurrection of Jesus?
  • How does our resurrection with Jesus shape our everyday identity? Would you identify yourself more as a dad, mom, husband, wife, student, employee, or a son and daughter of the living God?
  • What difference will the resurrection make after the Easter worship service on Sunday? How will it shape the way you live Monday-Saturday?

Everyday Martrydom

ordinary hero

In chapter 6 of “Ordinary Hero: Living the Cross and Resurrection in Everyday Life” Tim Chester describes what everyday martyrdom looks like…

What does the practice of the cross mean when someone wrongs me? “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ in God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I’m tired and someone asks me for help? “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you” (Philippians 2:17).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I want to hold back from taking a risk or moving out of my comfort zone? “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I see an opportunity to impress someone with my Bible knowledge or Christian service? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves…Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3,5-8).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I start asking, “How will this effect me?” “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:4-5,8).

What does the practice of the cross mean when my family asks why I’ve not pursued a career like other people? “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).

What does the practice of the cross mean when people don’t respond to my hard work on their behalf? “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money but eager to serve.” (1 Peter 5:1-2).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I open my wallet? “See that you also excel in this grace of giving…For you know the grace of the the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:7-9).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I start to say, “I want my way”? “Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet now as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:38-39).

What does the practice of the cross mean when friends urge me to join them in sinful behavior? “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin…They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse upon you…” (1 Peter 4:1,4).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I find other Christians difficult to get along with? “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself, but as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me’…Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:2-3, 7).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I see other Christians in need? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has not pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:16-17).

What does the practice of the cross mean when dishes need to be done at home? “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and have himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25; see also 1 Peter 2:18-3:7).

What does the practice of the cross mean when I face temptation? “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2).