April 5, 2015 • Life for Leaders
[I pray that you may know] what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.”
This is Easter Sunday, the day when most Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (Eastern Orthodox believers celebrate Easter a week later than Westerners.) Today, we focus our celebration on the fact that Jesus shattered the bonds of death as God raised him to new life. The resurrection demonstrates that God’s plan for salvation through the cross actually worked. The death of Jesus was not just the martyrdom of an unfortunate rebel who got crossways with the Jewish and Roman powers in Jerusalem. Rather, it was God’s way of erasing the stain of sin so that we might be cleansed and forgiven. The death of Jesus means life for us, abundant life, eternal life, the life of God’s kingdom.
All of this is great news, and we rightly celebrate it on Easter Sunday. But if we comb the Scriptures, we discover even more good news than this. In Ephesians 1:19-20, for example, Paul prays that we might know “the immeasurable greatness of [God’s] power for us who believe” (1:19). If we are looking for an example of this power so that we might understand it better, we turn to the resurrection: “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (1:20). In this context, Paul blends the resurrection with the exaltation of Christ, thus accentuating its wonder.
To put it simply, the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is “for us.” God’s power is on our side, supporting us, defending us, energizing us to do the work of God’s kingdom. Later in Ephesians, we discover that this power is also “within us,” and through it God is “able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine” (3:20). Thus, God’s power, the power of the resurrection, is both for us and in us. This power is for each one of us and in each one of us. And it is both for us and among us as God’s people together.
Do we live as if this were true? Or do we live as if God’s power that once raised Christ from the dead just might make a difference in our lives every now and then, but is mostly absent from our experience? For many years, my teacher and mentor was Lloyd Ogilvie, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California. When Lloyd came upon verses like Ephesians 1:19-20, he’d inevitably ask questions like these: How would you live differently today if you really believed the power of the resurrection was for you and in you? What might you seek to accomplish for the Lord if you took this passage seriously?
Today, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, may we remember that the same power that raised him from the dead is for us and in us. And may we live as if this were true.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Review the questions in the second to last paragraph of this devotion. As you do, allow the Spirit to encourage and challenge you to live in the fuller truth of the resurrection.
Lord Jesus Christ, all praise, glory, and honor be to you. For you conquered death, breaking its power as you were raised from the dead. Your faithfulness in death led to your exaltation in new life. You are exalted above all creation. Every knee in heaven and earth will bow before your glorious sovereignty. Hallelujah!
As your people celebrate your resurrection today, Lord, may this be more than a one-day special event. May we live in the light of your resurrection each and every day. May we know in mind, heart, and experience the power of your resurrection that is available to us. Help us to live so that your power may be expressed in our lives. Do in and among us more than all we can ask or imagine.
To you, risen Lord, be all praise, glory, and honor on this great day, and every day. Amen.