Jesus’ resurrection has changed the world. Nothing has been the same since the disciples discovered the empty tomb and Easter happened.
The empty tomb means Jesus has defeated the cosmic powers, the spiritual forces of evil that rule over this present darkness. The empty tomb means that age old barriers between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, rich and poor have been demolished.
The empty tomb means that Jesus removed the sting of death and ensured that one day you and I will likewise be raised. The empty tomb means that no matter how big and bad death might be, life is bigger and badder.
The resurrection has meaning both for the everyday, ordinary events of our lives, but also for the extraordinary, eternal events. Frederick Buechner said “Sacred moments, the moments of miracle, are often everyday moments, the moments which, if we do not look with more than our eyes or listen with more than our ears, reveal only… a garden, a stranger coming down the road behind us, a meal like any other meal” (The Magnificent Defeat, pp. 87-88). But if we look and listen through the lens of the resurrected Christ, we might find the power of the resurrection in full view.
The Gospels recount the disciples encountering Jesus while going fishing, eating breakfast on the shore, (John 21:1-3), and two walking down the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Sounds like everyday stuff.
We desperately need resurrection power in the everyday events of life. Many find themselves plodding along in a dead-end job or struggling in personal relationships, feeling fatigued and frustrated. So many are tired of life and tired of trying, feeling stressed out, hurt and bitter.
Too many live with regret and guilt, feeling as if they are going to have to sit out the rest of their lives in the penalty box. The world is full of people who feel like that. The resurrection declares that the life we are all looking for is found in the One who raised from the dead. The forgiveness we are all looking for is found in the One who nailed our sins to the cross and now, though our sins be scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Beyond the ordinary moments of life, however, we need the power of the resurrection in the face of death. The resurrection matters most where there is death.
Easter happens in the E.R. when the doctor comes out to the family in the waiting area and shakes his head, “We couldn’t save him.” Easter happens at the funeral home when that first glimpse of mom in the coffin hits you like a punch in the stomach, and you can’t breathe.
Easter happens in the house with the meth lab where men and women watch each other slowly kill themselves with drugs. Easter happens at the nursing home where once strong-bodied men and women waste away with the knowledge that life has now come down to this long wait for death. Jesus’ resurrection declares that life is bigger than death.
Whether in the grind of everyday life, or facing death in one of its many forms, our ultimate hope is that Easter still happens. This is good news with which we can live and die.