12 Ways Jesus’ Resurrection Changes us Today
The reigning, risen Jesus invites you to have courageous faith. Throughout the summer, we’ve been studying the components in the Gospel of Mark. During challenging times, we recognize how Jesus is alive and well. Death is losing its grip on us, and Jesus is Lord. He makes it possible for us to face these days with courage because he lives the resurrected life…. even before he dies. He invites us to do the same. How does Jesus’ resurrection change us today?
- Invades. Jesus invades our world conquering the forces of sin, evil, death, and darkness. The bright shadow of the empty tomb is already on our world when he arrives, the heavens split open, and God speaks at his baptism and transfiguration saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.” (Mark 1:11)
- Preaches. He announces a message as a herald proclaiming the good news. We can change—repent. The kingdom of God is at hand. God is here, and he reigns through Jesus his son. His words draw people to himself, just as he did with the people who lowered the paralytic to him. Jesus continues to teach parables to draw listeners into him, break through their hardened hearts, open their ears, and bring in the kingdom of God. (Mark 1:8-9)
- Conquers. Demons know Jesus’ identity before his disciples do. At the sound of his voice, they flee. Jesus confronts evil in every form, conquers it, and evil loses its grip on us. (Mark 5)
- Forgives. He offers mercy to blind Bartimaus, a bleeding woman, and a paralytic. He forgives their sins and cleanses their lives.
- Rises. Sprinkled throughout Mark, we get a preview of what’s going to happen at Easter. As many scholars have shown, the word for resurrection “to rise” or “risen”is used throughout the gospel. Jesus invites Simon Peter’s mother-in-law to rise; he takes Jairus’s daughter by the hand and invites her to rise in her language of Aramaic. The crowds call Bartimaus to rise, and the young man in the empty tomb tells the women that “he has been raised.” (Mark 5, 10)
- Gives courage. As he walks on the storms of the Sea of Galilee, he says something to the disciples that he gives to us—“Take heart.” Courage is the gift that the risen Christ gives to his followers. It’s not a superhero, me vs. you quality. It’s a steadfast endurance and obedience through the struggles of life. It’s the confidence to know that Jesus is with you. (Mark 8)
- Prays. Jesus knows that we are paralyzed, deaf, blind, and disobedience. So he comes and prays for us. Sometimes it’s a sigh; often times, it’s a conversation about the condition of our children, our marriages, our society. He wants to know the details, and he wants us to believe. (Mark 9)
- Heals. He sticks his fingers in our ears, loosens our lips, and raises us to walk simply by the power of his word. Sometimes this results in a medical cure, but even more importantly, we are able to live differently because of Jesus’ power in our lives. Because suffering is not only a part of life, but also a part of the Christian life, Jesus remains with us through the times where we experience difficulties. (Mark 9)
- Sacrifices. Jesus sacrifices his life for the world and offers his disciples that kind of role model they need. He inspires them by being a servant. He says that the son of man came to give his life as a “ransom for many.” He releases us from our slavery to sin and offers us a lifestyle to emulate as servants. This is not the kind of activities where we offer the people around us better “ customer service” or random acts of kindness in service to others. Instead, this is a mentality and lifestyle that says no matter what’s going on, we take the lowest position. We seek the least likely jobs. We lead from below. (Mark 9, 10)
- Radiates glory. We see Jesus’ glory shining from his life. On the Mountain of Transfiguration, we get a vision that Jesus is following us into our world today. Glory comes not through heroic efforts but by holiness, obedience, love, and suffering. (Mark 9)
- Reconciles. He crosses ethnic, gender, and geographic barriers to reach people who have been abused, oppressed, and mistreated. By reaching a Gentile, Syrophoenician woman and healing her daughter, he makes it possible for us to do the same. (Mark 7)
- Calls. From Mark 1 to the empty tomb, Jesus is calling. He’s always enlisting confused, fleeing disciples and fickle crowds. He reaches out to religious leaders and people who betray him. He calls everyone…including you.
For example, this summer I’ve met with three people sensing God’s call to ministry. They’re praying, discovering, and discerning what God wants from them. When many people are confused and concerned about the world, these people are responding to the risen Christ. As the women discovered on Easter Sunday morning in Mark 16, the stone that they were worried about removing had already been rolled away. What you imagine as your worst possible problem has already been handled by Jesus’ resurrection. Be prepared for his message.