April 10, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Ephesians 1:17-20 (NRSV)
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and 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.
For Christians, Easter is not just a day. It’s a season, the 50-day season known as Eastertide. During this season we have the opportunity to grow in our understanding and experience of the resurrection of Jesus. Beginning today, Life for Leaders will offer reflections on Easter in a series called “Why Easter Matters.”
This devotion is the first in the series: Why Easter Matters.
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.
For one thing, it’s quite 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 called “The Season of Easter.”)
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, and 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 1:17-20. 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: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (italics added).
In the days to come, we will take time to consider how the prayer in Ephesians 1:17-20 helps us discover why Easter matters. To put it simply, because of the resurrection, we can be a people of hope, riches, and power. For now, let me invite you to reflect on this passage and how it speaks to you today.
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?
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.)
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 why Easter matters. May we experience the reality of Easter in every part of life. In particular, we ask for the gift of hope, for the assurance of the riches of our inheritance, and for the power that raised Jesus from the dead. Amen.
Banner image by Serafima Lazarenko on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God’s Grand Plan: A Theological Vision (Ephesians 1:1–3:21).
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.