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    Easter Victory

    Living in the power of Christ's Resurrection. April 3, 2012 by Commissioner Brian Peddle
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    We won! These two words make an undeniable declaration, summarize a hopeful outcome and are used by young and old alike. Whether it's a hockey game among friends at the community rink or a political battle determining the future of a nation, winning for many of us is the ultimate goal, regardless of what price we have to pay along the way. Any observation of human behaviour quickly reveals our competitive spirit and what is often referred to as a “play to win” attitude. When it comes to any matter of significance, most of us want to be on the winning team.

    As pilgrims in this world, we strive daily in a battle where we sometimes forget we are on the winning team. The words “we won” or “it is finished” are muted by the daily grind or the tyranny of the urgent. It is important that we keep in mind the words of Jesus, “I am the Resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live …” (John 11:25). These words were given to Martha when she experienced the loss of her brother. Little did she realize that these words would echo throughout future centuries. Luke added to the promise with a post-Resurrection comment, “He is not here; he has risen” (Luke 24:6).

    Though we look to the future and anticipate yet another victory that involves the Lord's return, the declared Easter triumph remains sealed for all time and is written in the record book. For those of us who believe, we have the opportunity to confidently shout, “We are not afraid,” when faced with moments of uncertainty.

    Noted atheist Richard Dawkins recently supported a British bus ad campaign that stated, “There probably is no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” In other words, live as though there is no eternity, no life after death, no hope for the future and no consequences for our actions. Even in the day that Jesus lived, life after death received mixed reviews. The Sadducees would have denied the possibility, while the Pharisees only would have considered it a probability. Jesus, of course, challenged both streams of thought and through the power of the Resurrection demonstrated the reality of life after death. In fact, the miracle of Easter reaches far beyond the event. The personal implication of Easter pulls each of us out of the crowd and we are no longer spectators. Instead, God writes us into the story through his Son, and as Scripture reminds us, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19), we become the recipients of this great hope.

    Please note that neither the trials of life nor death is our destiny. The words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:25 remain as an offer to any who come to faith: “I am the Resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Then he added these words: “And whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (v 26).

    Another aspect of the Easter victory is that it takes us beyond our personal world into the context of the whosoever. As we live lives of faith and hope, we do so in the power of the Resurrection with the understanding that this great victory is intended to be shared with others. As Christopher Wright notes, “We are called to be the living proof of the living God.” Many people who struggle with the concept of an invisible God will find their way to faith if they can see God in us as we live in the power of his Resurrection.

    Throughout this week we will undoubtedly hear someone declare, “We won!” My hope is that the Church, God's called-out people, would also proclaim victory. It would be great if we heeded the words of John Stott, “We are a people commissioned by God to occupy the secular spaces of our world.” God's Kingdom will come as we experience personal victory and show others that they, too, can live and share this Resurrection power.

    After appearing to the disciples, Jesus sent them into the world. I challenge you to go and be a transforming influence in your communities. After all, through Christ we get to share the Easter victory. We won!

    Commissioner Brian Peddle is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.

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