Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes
Death Valley in California is a baked out gorge – the lowest place in the United States, dropping 276 feet below sea level. It’s also the hottest place in the country with an official recording of 134 degrees. Streams flow into Death Valley only to disappear, and a scant two and a half inches of rain falls on the barren wasteland each year. Several years ago, however, an amazing thing happened. For 19 straight days, rain fell onto the bone-dry earth. Suddenly, all kinds of seed, dormant for years, burst into bloom. In a valley of death there was life.
This is the message of the resurrection of Christ! A desert becomes a garden. Beauty transcends horror. Love outwits and outlasts hatred. The tomb is empty; the Savior is risen. And because He is risen, we have hope – hope for the present and hope for the future. For the power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that raises believers from the graveyard of sin and into spiritual life. John Newton, the composer of the hymn Amazing Grace, said this, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world, but still I am not what I used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
The grieving women who went to the tomb of Jesus on that first Easter Sunday morning encountered angels who asked them, “Why seek the living One among the dead?” That’s a powerful question for all of us! If we truly hear it and receive it, we will be pointed toward radical redirection and complete transformation. For the angels’ question is a call to seek the living Savior and the life He gives.
Through the centuries many people have made wild claims and empty boasts. However, when Jesus predicted His resurrection it was no empty boast. What He said He would do, He did. As a result, the risen Christ declares, “I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17-18). There’s only one qualified to make that statement. Others lived and died. But Jesus died and lived!
What amazing love God has demonstrated in sending His Son that through His death we might have life. Would you know that gracious forgiveness of sin and gift of eternal life? Put your faith in the risen Christ and you will be reoriented from grief to joy, from darkness to light, from death to life, and from the anguish of doubt and fear to the glorious certainty of the resurrection.
“Why seek the living One among the dead?” Why indeed?