I almost pulled up the plant last weekend out of disappointment. I thought it was dead. After I put it in the ground last fall, I expected it to be one of the first things to bloom this spring. Forsythias are budding all over town and yet mine was only woody sticks. But yesterday, though still looking “mostly dead” there is one small branch of yellow life.
It prompted me to go look at other plants and trees I thought were dead. Sure enough, tiny buds or slightest shades of green were pushing up from the ground or out of brown bark. Just like the Lord said last week, “Spring is coming.” Hope indeed is pushing tender buds out of cold winter earth once more.
As I pulled dead stalks of flowers and scraped away mulch and leaves where buds should be, the Lord prompted me to consider the difference between New Life and Life from the Dead.
We love to say that Easter is about New Life. (Don’t even get me started on the Easter Bunny.) But New Life is looking for growth where I planted bulbs last year, or hoping for a positive pregnancy test. That is, we look for new life to come from seed that we have planted.
But Life from the Dead is altogether different. Death leads to decay. Dust to dust. No one goes to a cemetery and expects to see a living person. No one goes to ashes or corpses and expects flesh or breath. And here rises a much more powerful hope.
We love, and are loved by, the God of the Resurrection. He is the One who brought life and breath back into the dear, mangled body of Jesus. This is the true miracle of Easter. There was no hope left hanging on the empty cross. But when God called His Son back to life, then True Life began. A life beyond the curse, a life full of truly living hope became ours through Him.
Life after death. Life instead of death. Life over death.
When Jesus came out of that grave, it wasn’t just about forgiveness of sin. It was about the Life that is now possible to us. In us. Through us.
Jeremy Caris said in church yesterday that God’s principle of “what you sow you will reap” is an eternal spiritual law. And God in His goodness and mercy, “sowed Jesus” on our behalf so that we might reap a life that is far more than we dreamed possible.
It is a wondrous thing to consider the meaning of Resurrection Sunday. It is a life-changing thing to consider where does my hope come from? And what do I believe God can do in me? Bring New Life? or Life back from the Dead?