Spring. New life. Resurrection. I love this time of year. What I love the most is when the first spring flowers poke through the ground, a sign that winter’s grip is loosening, and new life is coming. A few daffodils popped up in my woods this week. They all heed the call that it’s time for the green shoots to burst from the bulbs and up through the ground. Those delicate, slender green leaves somehow push through the hard ground and the layers of dead debris resting on the forest floor. The first sighting of light green summons hope that spring is near. Soon after, the bright yellow blossoms pose a striking contrast to the greys and browns of the dead leaves and fallen branches all around them. Their sunny trumpets blast that life can come after death. Spring. Life. Renewal. Resurrection.
In a few days, we will celebrate Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. Unlike the daffodil bulbs, that are simply dormant through the winter, Jesus was actually dead. But on the appointed day, life flowed back into his body. His heart beat again, blood coursed through his veins, and breath filled his lungs. His winter-cold corpse was restored to life. In newness of life, he rose and walked out of the grave.
I wish I could have been there to see that moment when life returned. Did he suck in air and jump to his feet? Or was it a gradual awakening as his body systems came back online? We do know, before leaving the tomb, he took the time to fold the cloth that had been wrapped around his head. And the other graveclothes were left behind. What was he wearing? Bright, shiny, new clothes? What do resurrection clothes look like? For someone like me, who loves to shop for new clothes, I’m very curious. Maybe as the graveclothes unraveled another garment was revealed, like a superhero. He wasn’t in a hurry. He waited around for the women to come (probably why he folded the face cloth—just good manners).
I do remember the day new life came to me. I was sixteen, angry and broken. It happened following a friend’s funeral. Why weren’t those closest to him also angry and broken? That’s when his love and grace breached my anger. They knew because of Jesus’s resurrection, their loved one was with him. He had lived his life for Jesus, and now he was with Jesus. I wanted that and knelt down asked Jesus to forgive my sin and show me how to live for him. As his forgiveness washed over me, I felt new life fill my heart. The joy and peace that filled me were undeniable. Springtime. New life. Resurrection.
His resurrection did cause something to die. Death. He conquered death and, along with it, the power of sin. Satan was defeated. His head was crushed, his power vanquished, and his doom sealed, fulfilling the Genesis 3 promise. There is no point to Christianity without the resurrection. It would not make any difference if Jesus was just an historic figure or a good teacher. He had to be God incarnate. He had to die and be resurrected or nothing else mattered. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 (ESV) “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (died).”
Resurrection. All things become new. And one day spring will come and last forever. No more death. No more suffering. Forever alive with Jesus. Winter is losing its grip, and spring is coming. I await it with anticipation and great joy! He is risen! He is risen indeed.
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