Every Easter, Christians and churches will declare loudly “He is risen!” This is as it should be. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead 2,000 years ago is the turning point in history and the foundation of our faith. But I have often wondered how those outside the church view these loud proclamations. They live in a world of many competing claims and many competing slogans. I fear that, enthusiastic though we may be, yelling “He is risen” is not enough to convince people that the resurrection really happened. People will take this gospel claim seriously when they see evidence of its power. People will take the resurrection more seriously when they encounter folks who have been transformed by resurrection power.
In Ephesians 1:18–21, Paul writes:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (NIV)
In other words, God’s great power is working in us, the same power that was behind the resurrection. No, we can no longer witness the resurrection, a one-time event, but the world should get a glimpse of the power behind the resurrection at work in us who believe. But what does that mean?
At one level it includes power encounters, where followers of Jesus have the authority to expel demons from those afflicted by them. However, I think a more mundane and more important way we reveal resurrection power is the emergence of a new humanity, one who, in imitation of their Lord, is sold out on holiness and love.
If we were to conduct an experiment and compare a Christian Singaporean/American/Malaysian, etc., with one who was not a follower of Jesus, would we find any difference in their values and behaviour? And if we can’t detect any difference, it won’t make any difference how loud we shout “Christ is risen”.