Fuller

The Easter Difference: Hope, Inheritance, and Power

April 3, 2018 • Life for Leaders

I pray 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 his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…

Ephesians 1:18-20

 

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

You may be wondering why I’m using the traditional Easter greeting on the Tuesday after Easter. Did I get my days confused? No, not really. Let me explain.

Blossoms beginning to bloom on a tree branch.For one thing, it’s actually appropriate for Christians to use this greeting at any time on any day. After all, the truth of Christ’s resurrection matters every moment, not just for a few hours on Easter Sunday. But I’m using the Easter greeting today because we are in the Christian season of Easter or, as it is sometimes called, Eastertide. This season, which begins on Easter Sunday, lasts for fifty days, running right up to Pentecost Sunday. (I realize that thinking of Easter as a season may seem strange to you. If you’d like to learn more about Eastertide, you can check out an article I wrote for my blog.)

Since I’ve started thinking of Easter as a season and not just a day, one benefit has been the chance to reflect more deeply on the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. On Easter Sunday, we tend to focus mainly and appropriately on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Perhaps we hear a sermon on one particular and glorious implication of the resurrection. But there is so much more to consider, so much more to reflect upon, so much more to learn, so much more about which to wonder, so much more to celebrate. The season of Easter urges us to engage with the “so much more.”

This “so much more” shows up in Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:18-20. Verse 20 mentions the resurrection of Christ specifically, linking it to God’s power in our lives. But verses 18 and 19 assume and, indeed, are based on the reality of the resurrection. We can have hope and we will have an inheritance because Jesus rose from the dead. Had Jesus remained in the tomb, we would have no reason to claim a special hope, a special inheritance, or a special power.

We see a similar juxtaposition of themes in 1 Peter 1:3-5: “In his great mercy, [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (emphasis added).

In the days to come, we will take time to consider how the prayer in Ephesians 1:18-20 helps us discover the Easter difference: Because of the resurrection, we can be a people of hope, inheritance, and power. For now, let me invite you to reflect on this passage and how it speaks to you today.

Something to Think About:

Do you think very often about the resurrection of Jesus? Why or why not?

What difference does the resurrection make in your life, really?

Do you need more hope in your life?

Do you need more of God’s power?

Something to Do:

Find a small piece of paper and write on it: “Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.” Put this reminder of the resurrection in a place where you’ll see it often during the season of Easter. (Alternatively, you can leave yourself a repeating reminder on your computer or smartphone.)

Prayer:

Gracious God, today we continue to celebrate the fact and the meaning of the resurrection. Thank you for a season to consider how your victory over sin and death changes our lives.

Help us, we pray, to discover in new ways the difference that Easter makes. May we live this difference in every part of life. In particular, we ask for the gift of hope, for the assurance of our inheritance, and for the power that raised Jesus from the dead. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Happy Easter!?!?

Tags

Ephesians

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.