Every year, at this time of year, I hear the same thing over and over and over again. In conversations with kin in Christ. Via bumper stickers. Through Facebook posts. On Christian radio. As a part of Christian literature and sermons. At church. I hear/see statements like these:
* “Jesus is Lord and he proved it when by his own power he rolled back the stone and walked out of that tomb.” [insert annoying sound of end-of-game buzzer here]
* “He couldn’t stay dead! He’s Jesus!” [insert quick, decisive buzzer sound]
* “He proved himself to be God by bringing himself back from the grave.” [I need more buzzer!]
* “He willed himself back to life for us.” [insert rapidly repeated sound of buzzer]
* “… Jesus resurrected himself …” [insert sound of never-ending buzzer, growing louder and louder]
Jesus came to life after he was dead. No, not resuscitation, resurrection. Awesome!
But, Jesus didn’t have anything thing to do with it. Listen to the way the Bible relates what happened:
God raised him from the dead … (Acts 2.24)
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. (Acts 2.32)
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. (Acts 3.15)
… Jesus Christ of Nazareth … whom God raised from the dead … (Acts 4.10)
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. (Acts 5.30)
… God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10.40)
… they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead … (Acts 13.29-31)
God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. (Acts 13.34)
… the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. (Acts 13.37)
… believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Rom. 4.24)
We were … buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6.4)
… he who raised Christ from the dead will … give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Rom. 8.11)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10.9)
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (1 Cor. 6.14)
… we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. (1 Cor. 15.15)
… we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus … (2 Cor. 4.14)
… his incomparably great power … is … the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead … (Eph. 1.19-20)
… God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … (Eph. 2.6)
… buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col. 2.12)
… you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus … (1 Thes. 1.9-10)
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1.21)
The resurrection of Jesus? God our Father did it. That’s the point. And it’s a big deal. God did it.
And what difference does it make whether Jesus did it or the Father did it?
A lot. A whole lot.
To you. To the way you understand God. And to the way you live your life.
Rise up, come hear my sermon tomorrow morning at MoSt Church, and I’ll tell you.