Here is one of the secrets of the resurrection: On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus opened not only the tomb, he opened new possibilities for everyone who would follow him. The resurrection was not only a supernatural event for Jesus, it also opened up the resources of heaven for all who would follow him. Jesus opened the womb of heaven. Picture him emerging from the garden tomb: Something new came forth that day—the power of resurrection life operating in a human being. Resurrection life flowed into Jesus that day, but the Scripture reveals that it is now available to us as well: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). This verse is not about being raised up after we die, it’s about the power of the resurrection working in us now. Jesus was not only our model during earthly life, he is also a model of new creation operating in us even now: The nature and power of the resurrection dwell in each new child of God. This is no mere formality. The womb of heaven has been opened by Jesus and each believer has the potential to bring heaven to earth. Those who are born from above receive heaven’s DNA in them here and now. First Jesus, then us. Not only in resurrection from the dead but also empowerment for ministry.
Choose Carefully How You Share the Good News
Our ability to see Jesus as the firstborn among many is more than a Bible-study lesson. Once we see him in this light, our role as children of God takes on new meaning, new possibilities and new responsibilities. He opened the way for us to continue his Kingdom mission. Heaven’s resources poured into us. Jesus relied upon the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience, and he sent the Holy Spirit to help us do the same. He relied upon the Holy Spirit to do powerful works that authenticated his message, and he sent the Holy Spirit to do the same for us.
Jesus indeed came to save us from our sins; he also came to empower us to live godly lives that can look substantially like his life. That empowerment burst forth from the grave on Easter Sunday. His mandate to disciple the nations is not possible apart from the power of the resurrection. The Book of Acts reveals what happens when students of Jesus operate in the power of the resurrection.
We must choose carefully during this Holy Week. Are we celebrating sacrifice apart from empowerment? Are we celebrating history without receiving the gift of the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead? The open grave stands as a portal through which heaven flows into earth—not only on that first Easter Sunday, but every day.