History was divided in two at Jesus’ death and resurrection. God, in His sovereign purpose, had been working towards that point in anticipation, and since then everything has flowed from it - both the free grace of God and its opposition. It is the central fact of history.
…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord
Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.
Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life
Jesus’ resurrection was the beginning of the full revealing of God’s new creation life on earth.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
‘Abundant’ doesn’t simply mean more of the same old stuff, but a new nature and a new order. God gives eternal life, but the life He gives us is not just eternal in quantity but also in quality.
…whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.
Everyone who believes has life, here and now. Although we have passed from death into eternal life this remains to be totally realized in the future.
So what is this resurrection life like?
Jesus was resurrected as a physical flesh-and-blood human. He proved it to his disciples by showing them his wounds and eating with them.
So resurrection life isn’t an ethereal, floaty experience. We do and will experience our resurrected life as embodied human beings. Resurrection life will mean the interactions between our spirit, soul and body are deeper. The spirit and soul will know in a more direct way the resurrected way of life through the Holy Spirit. We are more alive to love and more sensitive to the presence of God.
The call of Jesus is a call to ‘take up your cross’, but with Jesus, death will always lead to resurrection. If we ‘die’ in the wrong way we can end up shrivelled, dutiful, disapproving of everyone – having a strange suspicion that someone somewhere might possibly be enjoying themselves! As death continues to work in us, so will life.
I have found truly jubilant Christians only in the Bible, in the Underground Church and in prison.
Richard Wurmbrand, author of Tortured for Christ
In resurrection life we also have a new ability to suffer and go through it with a tenderness, sweetness and friendliness. We are more alive to laugh, to cry and think with renewed minds.
There are no rules about that but your thinking will be filled with trusting hope and full of life. All of this is only possible because of the resurrection – and it’s ours.
Consider the Emmaus Road story in Luke 24:13-35. Jesus had just conquered death and changed history forever yet when his “new” companions stopped off for the night he went to carry on walking (v28). He was waiting for them to invite him to stay with them. Let us invite him into our lives, so he can invite us into his resurrection.