Pastor Wayne Moore
High Point Baptist Church
Have you ever put a lot of time, effort, and resources into something, and then were glad when you didn’t need it? In preparation for one of the ice storms forecasted this winter, my wife and I spent a good portion of one day drawing water, prepping the generator, making provisions for the animals, and a dozen other things. It was hard work, and it cost us some money, but we were elated when it turned out that we didn’t need it. On the first Easter morning, the faithful women who had served Jesus during His ministry were coming to the tomb with spices that they had purchased and prepared to anoint His body. How glad they were when it turned out that they did not need them.
I realize that Easter was over a week ago, but the message of Easter is important for every day of the year. I am more aware of this since the death of my step-father took place on the evening of Easter Sunday this year. When I received the news, I was immediately reminded of the message I had just preached that morning. What we truly believe is tested by the experiences of life. I praise God that the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, fills me with hope and joy even in the midst of grief and sorrow. Jesus’ resurrection transforms the way we think about life and death.
Luke chapter 24 records how the resurrection of Jesus transformed the thinking of the women who first visited His tomb. “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing spices which they had prepared.” (v.1) At this point, they were still thinking of Jesus as dead. But when “they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher, and they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus,” they were confronted with this question by one of the angels: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (vs. 2-5) Without giving the women time to answer, the angel made the joyous announcement, “He is not here, but is risen!” (v. 6) Granted, it took the personal appearances of Jesus for the reality to sink in, but by the end of that day, those closest to Jesus no longer thought of Him as dead but alive. Jesus is not some long-since-dead, historical figure; He is the Risen Lord, the Living God! He is worthy of our praise; He is worthy of our obedience; He is worthy of our loyalty!
Of course, we still deal with the problem of death. In addition to changing the way we think about Jesus, His resurrection also changes the way we think about the death of our loved ones, and our own death. Even before Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised again, He taught these truths for those who put their trust in Him: “He is not a God of the dead but of the living: for all live unto Him” (Luke 20:38); “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). While death is the consequence of sin, it is not the end of life for the believer. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the penalty for our sin has been paid, and the victory over death has been accomplished. The Apostle Paul understood the reality that believers do not die when the body dies; they go on living in the presence of the Lord: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
The effects of Jesus’ resurrection are tremendous. When we visit the grave of a loved one who put his/her trust in Jesus, we do not have to think of them as dead. If we do, we should ask ourselves, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He/she is not here but is present with the Lord.”
As for me and my family, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, makes a huge difference. It fills us with hope and joy. I pray that it does the same for you and your family.