By Dustin Anderson, Crosswalk.com
Following our recent Easter celebrations, we recognize that few phrases pack as much power, mystery, and hope as “He is Risen!” The triumphant, history-altering, life-changing truth of the resurrection is celebrated every year by millions of Christians all over the world.
Christ has risen, indeed. But what does it mean for us, here and now, in 2021? In our COVID-weary, stressed-out, hyper-tense, constantly-fighting, just-trying-to-make-it-through-the-day, exhausted and broken world… what does the resurrection mean for us today?
Here are 6 takeaways from the resurrection to encourage us as we live in light of Jesus’ victory over death every day of the year.
1. We Are Loved
The cross of Christ leaves no room for doubt about God’s love for us. At our worst, God gave us His best – His Son. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV).
God showed His love for us in Christ. It can’t be undone. And His love for us is not hesitant or begrudging—He doesn’t regret it. He loves us freely and willingly. The Bible says it’s what God wants to do.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT).
2. We’re Not Alone
We’re often tempted to think God has abandoned us or that He doesn’t care about our struggles and pain – especially when we see so many people hurting all around us, including ourselves. In a time when so many of us are suffering, grieving, and isolated – we need to be reminded that Jesus is “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT).
Jesus knows unimaginable physical pain, in light of what He endured on the cross. He also knows emotional pain, as He was betrayed, mocked, and insulted. And He knows the pain of isolation – abandoned by His disciples and crying out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus knows our pain – and as the Risen Lord, He is with us in it.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
3. We Can Rest
In a time of ever-increasing exhaustion, constant stress, and world-weariness, Jesus offers us rest.
His final words on the cross were “It is finished” (John 19:30). Everything needed for us to experience peace with God and have eternal life … is already accomplished. We are not required to do any work to help make it happen. Salvation is a gift from God – it’s not based on what we do for God, but on what Jesus did for us.
He is risen means we don’t need to strive harder, do better, or wait for something else to happen first. We just need to come to Him – as we are. The resurrected Jesus extends the invitation to all of us...
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
4. We Can Be Hopeful
He is risen is a declaration of hope. It means death doesn’t have the final word. Sin and suffering don’t have the final word. Politics and pandemics don’t have the final word. Jesus does, and He alone. He is the Risen Lord.
Jesus “loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope” (2 Thessalonians 2:16 NLT). Eternal comfort. Wonderful hope. That’s what we have in Christ.
While we all are praying for a return to some sense of normalcy, that is not where our ultimate hope lies. Our hope is not in returning to normal life but in turning to God who gives us eternal life. He is risen means we have a hope beyond the grave, a hope beyond our circumstances and the headlines of the day, a hope beyond our feelings and fears, beyond our doubts and discouragement – a hope that keeps us steady through the storms.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).
5. We Can Keep Going
After He was betrayed and abandoned by His disciples, Jesus kept going. After He was arrested, sentenced to die, and beaten--Jesus kept going. After He fell down carrying His cross, Jesus kept going. After He was crucified... after He died and was buried--Jesus kept going.
In Christ, we have a love that endures, a hope that perseveres, and a power that keeps us going. Even in these troubling, confusing times – when you just want to give up and call it quits--we can keep going because Jesus keeps us going.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV).
6. We Can Persevere to the End
The Bible says that Jesus “loved them to the very end” (John 13:1 NLT).
He is risen--this truth proves that Jesus will love us to the end. Through all our ups and downs, every worry and fear, every sin and moment of suffering. Even now, God hasn’t stopped loving us. He hasn’t given up on any of us. He’s still at work. And He is with us each day, every day, even today--to the end.
“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NLT).
It’s no stretch to say we’ve all lost something over this past year. We’ve all had to endure some measure of difficulty. Let’s not minimize that. But let’s not forget the hope of the resurrection. Let’s remember we haven’t lost what matters most--the presence of God, the promise of eternal life, and the power of the resurrection working in our lives.
He is risen means Christ is here to stay. Above all our trials is the reigning, Risen Lord. We might not see or understand what God is doing in our lives, but the resurrection gives us confidence that God is at work even in the darkness of a tomb.
He is risen means we can trust that the God who raised Jesus from the dead will also give us the grace and strength to get through our trials today.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Arthit Longwilai
Dustin Anderson is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and the Lead Writer at Hope for the Heart, a worldwide biblical caregiving, coaching, and counseling ministry. To learn more about Hope for the Heart, visit hopefortheheart.org.