From Death to Life

“It all leads to the Resurrection.” A missionary friend reminded me of this as we led students on a pilgrimage through the streets of Rome. I had always known of the Resurrection but had never taken it to heart. All of salvation history leads to the Resurrection. Hearing the joy beneath his words made me realize the weight of the Truth. It’s the same joy the apostles proclaim after Pentecost, that they are witnesses of the Resurrection. I had been so focused on enduring the suffering and hardship of the crosses in life, I had almost forgotten about the joy awaiting me. 

Reminders of the Resurrection have resurfaced over the past several months. When we say yes to Jesus, it comes at a cost. He asks us to pick up our cross and follow Him. But being a disciple of Jesus does not end at the cross and neither does the Gospel. 

“I think I forget about the Resurrection a lot.” I later told my teammates over burgers, as we reflected on our prayer. There was a fear that I would be sharing a therapeutic gospel, something lovey-dovey without much weight or depth, if I didn’t focus on the death and hardship of the Passion (which is still a really big deal). But I had a tendency to skip over Christ’s rising altogether. But Christ’s death makes the Resurrection a even greater triumph and victory.

Even the angels are confused as they ask the disciples (Luke 24:5), “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

It would have been a noble thing for Christ to die and it stop there. People probably would have mourned and then could have tried to continue onward. But it doesn’t! Not even death can hold Him back.

Yet, I still wonder, can resurrection happen in our own lives? A hesitation intrudes upon the hope. The sight of brokenness and suffering before me threatens to lead me to despair. Mission is not easy. My heart constantly breaks for others in a variety of ways. Relationships demand a choice to love the other and will their good, even when friendship or offering something good is not well received. At the same time, as I journey into deeper friendship with the Lord, I’ve recognize my own poverty without Him. Just as I was reminded at a talk this summer, the cross is never separate from the Resurrection.

We are not meant to sit in the grief of Holy Saturday. During our silent retreat this past winter, I found myself sitting on the tile floor in front of a painting. It depicted Jesus gracefully, even after He had suffered and died. The Lord reminded me there’s always a glorious resurrection.

Even at first unrecognizable, Christ works all things for our good. On the road to Emmaus, no one recognized the Risen Christ was with them. He accompanied them and it was not until He broke the bread that their eyes were opened (Luke 24:13-32). The disciples were hesitant toward the women’s testimony, but Peter ran to the empty tomb and left amazed (Luke 24:9-12). The disciples and those who followed Jesus experienced it for themselves and the same is true for us. It all leads to the Resurrection.