Links Daily Devotional

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The Actions of Jesus: Resurrection

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” (Mark 16:6, NIV)

I cannot tell you if Tiger Woods is coming back. Oh, I don’t mean he will never play again. It would be hard for any player of his caliber not to enjoy a swan song or even a farewell tour. If his body can at all bear it, he’ll play every major at least once more.

We cannot raise ourselves, but we can live in the resurrection power of Jesus.What I mean is that I do not know whether Woods will regain the golfing greatness he delivered from 1997 to 2009 and showed again when he won five times in 2013. But what I do know is that if he does come back in this way, if he does win another major, we will hear the invocation of this powerful word: resurrection.

Woods isn’t alone. Many an athlete has “resurrected” their career in the chosen words of the journalists.

It’s an unlikely marriage between sports reporting and religion to use resurrection, because this word bears one prevailing connection every time it is used. It’s a word that belongs foremost to Jesus the Nazarene.

We may note that Jesus’ resurrection was not the first. In the Old Testament, Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), while Elisha the prophet oversaw the resurrection of the son of the Shunammite woman, and remarkably a dead man returned to life when his body was thrown into Elisha’s tomb (2 Kings 4 and 13). We know that in the Gospels, the widow of Nain’s son, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus were brought from death to life. Upon Jesus’ death and after his resurrection, others too were raised.

So what is different about the resurrection of Jesus? First, Jesus’ resurrection was permanent. While all the others raised in Scripture died a later physical death, Jesus was resurrected not to die but to ascend to the right hand of the Father in heaven, where he even now intercedes for us.

Second, Jesus’ resurrection brings life to us. We who were “dead in our sins” have been raised to an utterly new existence when we place our faith in him. And this existence is not only for this life but for the next. Indeed, we have no hope for that coming glory without the resurrection. No, we cannot raise ourselves, but we can live in the resurrection power of Jesus, which is the very best action we can undertake.

Jeff Hopper
August 12, 2016
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