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The Resurrected Life

The Resurrected Life

During this Easter season, I’m reminded of the cross of Jesus Christ, the suffering that Jesus endured, and how He took the punishment for our sins — yours and mine.

Like you, I can never fully express my gratitude for the price Jesus paid for me to receive eternal life and live in a relationship with Him. Not only did His crucifixion make a way for me to live in a close relationship with Him eternally — but it is also the sacred ground upon which He inhabits my life daily. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die every day” — yes, we are to die to ourselves each day so that Christ may live through us. And what a joy it is to lay down our lives for Him who gave everything for us!

As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Easter and the Resurrected Life we now enjoy in Christ, I would like to share a word that the Holy Spirit has been whispering to my own heart.

It’s a word that I believe will bless and strengthen your own heart — and it comes from John 12 …

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
John 12:23-28

This may not be a passage we usually hear preached about at Easter — but it is so incredibly filled with God’s grace and comfort for our everyday lives. Just reading it again, I feel a strong sense of just how much God wants to say to my heart and yours through these verses.

Let’s look together at this amazing portion of God’s Word …

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (John 12:23)

Jesus had an appointed time of suffering — and God also allows adversity to enter our lives at His appointed times. (Tweet this)

With the adversity comes an appointed purpose — the removal of our sinful nature, which was crucified with Christ: “For we know that our old self was crucified with him” (Romans 6:6).

What begins at the cross must manifest itself in our lives so that we can serve God and others — and share His grace and comfort with them in their own trials.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) 

Unless we allow our pride, self-dependence, and self-will to die in Christ, our lives will not bear spiritual fruit. Appointed times of adversity don’t guarantee this will happen, but they often facilitate it when accompanied by a submission of our will to God’s. Suffering truly lays bare how powerless we really are to manage our lives. It forces us to depend upon the life of Jesus Christ. And if we yield to Him in our trials, He becomes our life.

“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)

When you and I renounce and leave behind the old life — our old sinful nature — we embrace our eternal life in Christ.

In my personal experience, this happened through suffering. God removed so much of “me” that I lost my self-sufficiency, self-interest, and self-will. Instead, He gave me His sufficiency, His interests, and His will. I was forever changed! Once I experienced His life and His perspective, I no longer wanted mine!

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:26) 

Imagine — Jesus spoke these words only a matter of days, even hours, before His crucifixion! “Whoever serves me must follow me …” 

Wow! We often claim we want to serve Him — that we want to follow Him … and we do … just not to the cross.

Like the crowds and Jesus’ disciples, we want to experience His miracles and be fed by Him — but just how far are we willing to follow Him? To the cross? Remember — “Where I am, my servant also will be.” 

The Resurrected Life

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)

o    First — We shouldn’t be worried and restless about our seasons of suffering. It was for this very reason we came to this hour. And what is the reason? To have ourselves — our old nature — removed and replaced with the life of Christ … so that He might live through us and bring about a spiritual harvest in us, as well as in those around us!

o    Second — “Father, glorify Your name!” When we yield to God in our trials, God makes Himself recognizable to others through our lives.  Through our trials, God fulfills the promises He’s made to us. The world sees God doing what He said He’d do — and they’re astounded. Glory is brought to His name!

That powerful passage really sums up the life of a Christ-follower, doesn’t it? If you and I can hear this word and act on it — God will truly be glorified!

To be sure, taking up our cross and following Jesus isn’t always popular or easy. But God relates to us on resurrection ground, and this ground always includes the cross.

As we alluded to earlier, we want His resurrection power—but only if we can bypass the cross. But it just will not happen that way …

The Resurrected Life

If I personally would have never known the further work of the cross in my life, I would be missing so much! The real joy in living my brief journey here on earth is not found in the single fact that I’ll have eternal life. It’s not that I’ve gained Jesus in my heart. It’s that each day, as my flesh is crucified, He gains a little more of me! This means that Jesus inhabits more of my life, my words, my thoughts, my actions, my strength, my plans, my abilities – everything!

Over the years, I’ve probably gone to John 12 for comfort and for correction of my thoughts more than any other Bible passage. When I’m tempted to grieve the things that were forever lost during my illness, I’m reminded of the spiritual fruit that is promised through their death and loss.

And whenever I’m frustrated over the way I was forced to endure the crucifixion of my flesh—through all those years of being bedridden, confined to a wheelchair, and tortured with severe mental anguish—I’m reminded that the experience of the cross is a privilege, a gift.

If God had given me a choice then, I’d have been like so many others, missing out on this present experience of Christ being my life — this experience of His life living through me.

Today, I can say without doubt that no level of health, no measure of wealth, and no amount of self-reliance could ever compare to knowing Him intimately — and living because of His life in me. 

Remember that once we’ve given our crosses — our trials — to God and submitted to the control of His Holy Spirit, we experience the great exchange of the cross. The riches of Jesus Christ that we receive in return for our old self far exceed the spiritual poverty in which we lived before. Once we ever experience them, we’re changed. We’ll follow Jesus anywhere — even to the cross — if it means that more of His Resurrected Life will inhabit us.

Consider these incredible words of the apostle Paul …

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

Philippians 3:7-8

We may be willing to follow Jesus to conferences across the nation, to Bible studies—even down the aisles of our churches. But the place that matters most is the cross. The cross is the ground upon which God relates to us.

May you have a Blessed Easter — walking in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ!

More TweetablesMore Tweetables

  • Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone; but if it dies it produces much grain. — John 12:24 Click to tweet Tweet
  • Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. — John 12:26 Click to tweet Tweet 
  • I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. — Philippians 3:8 Click to tweet Tweet
  • Jesus had an appointed time of suffering — and God also allows adversity into our lives at His appointed times. Click to tweet Tweet
  • Jesus spoke these words a matter of days, even hours, before His crucifixion: “Whoever serves me must follow me…” Click to tweet Tweet
  • Like the crowds, we want to experience Jesus’ miracles and be fed by Him but just how far are we willing to follow Him? Click to tweet Tweet
  • We shouldn’t be worried and restless about our seasons of suffering. It was for this very reason we came to this hour. Click to tweet Tweet
  • When we yield to God in our trials, God makes Himself recognizable to others through our lives. Click to tweet Tweet
  • We want God’s resurrection power only if we can bypass the cross. But it will not happen this way. God relates to us on resurrection ground, and this ground always includes the cross. Click to tweet Tweet

Questions:

  • Are you worried and restless about your present season of suffering?

It was for this reason you came to this hour.

  • Does it seem like your trial is a cruel twist of fate — a pointless waste?

Just as Jesus had an appointed time of suffering,  God has allowed adversity to enter your life at His appointed time. With the adversity has come an appointed purpose.

  • Would you like for your suffering to result in something good?

Submit your will to God’s. Let Him remove your old nature and replace it with the life of Christ. This will result in a spiritual harvest in you and those around you.

  • Do you want to experience Christ’s resurrection power?

You cannot bypass the cross. God relates to us on resurrection ground, and this ground always includes the cross.

  • Are you willing to follow Jesus to the cross—to the place where things die? Or only to the scene of miracles where you can be fed by Him?

“Whoever serves me must follow me …”  (v. 26)

  • Will you follow Christ to the cross today by submitting yourself to His will? 

 

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