From The Pastor's Heart

The Resurrection changes not only our eternity, but our daily lives.

By Charles F. Stanley

I’ve been blessed to see God’s miraculous intervention in many different situations in my life, such as the time He answered a plea from me with a pair of shooting stars, or when He provided just the right building for our ministry at the moment we needed it. I’m sure you’ve also experienced your heavenly Father’s surprises. We never know what’s coming, but that’s part of the delight of belonging to an awesome and loving God.

As stunned as we sometimes are by His works, nothing could have been more surprising than when He raised His Son from the dead. Imagine what that was like for people living at the time. They had seen men die on crosses before, and none had ever come back to life. So it’s understandable that no one expected Jesus to rise from the grave. Even His disciples thought His death was final, though He’d repeatedly told them He would rise again (Matt. 20:19).

None of Jesus’ followers were sitting at the tomb waiting for His resurrection. The women who did come expected to find His dead body. When the women told the disciples the good news, they thought it was nonsense (Luke 24:11). Only after Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw the linen wrappings without a body would they believe (Luke 24:12).

Even today many people don’t think Jesus rose from the dead. But the resurrection is a foundation of Christianity, and believing it is crucial for salvation (Rom. 10:9). Rising from the grave after taking our sins upon Him proves that Jesus could not be destroyed by those sins. He paid the debt in full, and returned alive. If He were still in the grave, under the weight of our sin, how could He be our Savior? We believe the resurrection because the Word of God teaches it, because God reveals the truth to us, and because we can sense Christ living within our hearts. To us, His resurrection is personally knowable. And it changes not only our eternity, but our daily lives. What does that mean?

Because Christ lives, we are never alone. Jesus told His disciples He would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit to live within them forever (John 14:16-18). He also said, just before He ascended into heaven, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). As the Good Shepherd, Jesus never abandons His sheep (John 10:12-14).

Who else can make this promise to you? Even if others’ intentions are sincere, many events in life are outside their control. People move away, loved ones die, and friends can become indifferent or even hostile, but your resurrected Lord will always be with you.

Second, because Jesus is alive, we don’t have to worry about whether God will provide for us. Jesus told His followers that the Father, who takes care of birds and flowers, would also provide for them (Matt. 6:25-34). This promise would have meant nothing if Jesus had been just a man who died and remained in the grave. But He overcame death because He’s the Son of God. This means He has the power to keep every promise He makes.

How often do you fret about your needs not being met? Are you quick to talk to others about them instead of immediately turning to the resurrected Christ for help? He will never fail to keep this promise, even though it may not be in the way or at the time you’re expecting. But know this: Nothing is too large for His sovereign hands to handle.

Third, since Jesus was resurrected, we can have peace in the most difficult times. Before His crucifixion, Christ told His disciples, “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:27). The world’s peace depends on good circumstances, but His peace sustains us as we go through life’s storms.

When troubles overwhelm you, remember that you have a risen Savior who sits at the Father’s right hand interceding for you (Heb. 7:25). He invites you to confidently draw near in prayer to receive mercy and grace to help in your time of need (Heb. 4:16). He understands your weaknesses, and will lovingly use hardships to strengthen and mature you.

Finally, because Jesus overcame death, so will we. When He returns, the bodies of those of us who’ve passed will be resurrected just like His was (Phil. 3:20-21). What’s more, if we finish our race before He comes again, He has assured us that we’ll immediately enter into His presence (2 Cor. 5:8).

The hope you have because of Christ’s resurrection can be summed up in the words of an old hymn that says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone.” Never think that the resurrected Christ is idly seated in heaven, unconcerned about your life. No, Jesus is actively interceding for you and fulfilling all the promises He made to you, sometimes in completely unexpected ways. Look to Him. Rejoice in Him. And let Him surprise you with His glory, power, and faithful love.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. All of us here at In Touch Ministries would like to wish you a joyful celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. I pray this season will fill you with hope and confidence for the future. No matter what situations you’re facing, you can trust that your life is secure in the Savior’s loving hands.

19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."

11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.

12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

31 Do not worry then, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear for clothing?'

32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

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