Resurrection Power

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
How little do we as saints realize that a new power has already entered this world of death! Man has a vague thought of resurrection at a future day. We too may often speak of it as a doctrine, but there is more—the power has been actually manifested here.
We are well acquainted with another power working all around us—the power of death. It is a power dreaded by man, but familiar to him; it ofttimes compels his attention. The flowers and wreaths that are strewn upon the bier and the grave are tokens of the attention which death receives. It is only knowledge of the new power which can divert our attention; but we are often as really ignorant as the poor affectionate women who went with their spices and ointment to the sepulcher. In chapter 23:55, 56, we see them occupied with death—death in no ordinary form, but still with death—they "beheld the sepulcher, and how His body was laid." Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments; but the rest of the Sabbath day prevents their doing what would have been wholly out of character. God had ordered that the Lord should not be anointed for His burial in the tomb, but in the house at Bethany, where the presence of Lazarus attested the power of resurrection, and where the odor of the ointment which Mary poured on Him who is the resurrection and the life filled the house.
These dear women are still occupied with the adverse power as they go early in the morning of the first day of the week to the sepulcher. There they find that this new power had been in exercise the stone is rolled away, and they find not the body of the Lord Jesus. But they are not yet acquainted with it; on the contrary, they "were much perplexed thereabout." And surely we may ask ourselves whether, in the midst of the perplexity caused by the adverse power working here, we know what it is to have confidence in the God of resurrection. How could the power of death hold the living One? And yet these devoted women were seeking the living One among the dead. They need not have been ignorant, for the angels remind them of the words He had spoken in Galilee, "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
The women remember His words, and retrace their steps from the sepulcher to tell the tidings to the eleven and the rest. With what unbelief are they received! "Their words seemed to them as idle tales"; for not yet were they conscious of the power that had already wrought in this scene of death. There is a strange unbelief in man's heart as to the working of the God of resurrection; and yet, without rising up in thought to the counsels of God secured therein, how fruitful has it already been to us. It has given back Jesus to us, a living, blessed Man, as the disciples had known Him in the days of His flesh—in resurrection life, it is true, but the same Jesus, no more to die. This is portrayed to us in what follows.
Two disciples are going to Emmaus, talking together of all that had happened, when "Jesus... drew near, and went with them." As at the beginning of this Gospel it was said to the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day... a Savior"—and the sign to them was "the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,"
"Once cradled in a manger, That Thou mightest with us be"—so at the close of the narrative, He whom wicked hands had taken from those sorrowing disciples is given back to them by resurrection power. He walks and talks with the downcast travelers until their hearts burn within them, though as yet they know Him not, for questionings still had hold of their minds. A vision of angels had been seen, who said that He was alive. Had these two believed the report, it would have detained them at Jerusalem in the attitude of expectation. As it is, another motive leads them elsewhere. What tenderness of love that drew near and went with them! He has to call them senseless and unbelieving; and we may take His words home to our own hearts when we fail to comprehend in any way the pathway He has trodden. As in Galilee, so now, He has to speak of the necessity of His sufferings. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" But He tarries on the way (ere He enters into glory) to walk and talk and eat and drink with them after His resurrection—the same Jesus, known to them in the familiar act of breaking bread. What a power has already entered this scene! What fresh companionship with Jesus it gave, though of a new order! What a pledge we have of what is to be enjoyed forever with Himself. May He interpret it to our hearts.