But death was not the end. Death could not hold him. Hallelujah!
Rising from the dead, he set us free from the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1), we are no longer captives (Luke 4:18), and we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
Jesus’ death and resurrection informs many of our core beliefs. And this is right and good.
But look at these examples, what do you notice?
Jesus died on Friday. On Sunday he rose from the dead, never to taste death again!
Lazarus died. Four days later, when even his sister was concerned about the stench, Jesus asked for the stone to be removed. “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out.
Jairus asked Jesus to heal his dying daughter. She died. His friends said, “Why bother the teacher.” Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. Just believe.” He went with Jairus to his house and said to his daughter, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.” Immediately she stood up and began to walk around.
That’s what I’m talking about! Death over life. That is our Jesus! That is the power of our God! That is the story of resurrection.
But I notice in all three examples that at most, it took four days and, in every case, resurrection occurs in a moment. Someone was dead, now they are not.
I believe Jesus, Lazarus, and Jairus’ daughter died and experienced resurrection. Even though it is not the norm, I believe God can raise people from the dead even today. I believe in resurrection. But instantaneous resurrection is not my story.
I live in the northern hemisphere so winter is waning. I was thinking about this post as I pulled up to my home, noticing the grass along the edges of the yard. What looks like a big-ol carpet of brown was beginning to have splashes of green.
Can I tell you how much my soul prefers green grass to brown? I bet your soul is the same.
I want Jesus to say to me, “Amy, do not be afraid, just believe.” And then stop by my home for a cup of tea and a chat. On his way in, he notices the grass and says, “Little grass, I say to you, be green!” And in an instant, it is, because He’s Jesus and if He tells you to be green, and alive, you can’t help it.
But when I review my life, this is more how resurrection has gone.
I have experienced death. Death of dream, a relationship, a hope, a project, a loved one. Something was taken from me and I experience loss and confusion and anger. I thought I would be THERE doing THAT. I planned that my life would look like THIS and it doesn’t. I assumed that my training meant certain doors would open, but instead they slammed in my face.
So, like you, I’ve tasted death.
Jesus has said to me, “Amy, do not be afraid, just believe.” Like Jairus, he has come home with me. But unlike Jairus, when he sees the death I have experienced, he has said, “Let’s make a cup of tea and sit in the front yard and watch new life return.”
I have tasted resurrection too, but it has not been instantaneous. It has been slow. It has taken months or years. Sometimes the old dead thing has come back to life in a new form. Other times, something different but good has come along. Life has come after death.
I see it! I celebrate it! I am humbly grateful for it.
At this time of year, we tell of His death and celebrate resurrection. Hallelujah!
If you are in a season of sitting with Jesus in your front yard, barely able to look at Him because the new life he is offering you is slow in coming, please don’t lose heart.
The stories we tell at this time of year can inadvertently confuse “real” with “fast.”
Resurrection is real. But sometimes it is slow. Jesus has not abandoned you, he’s waiting with you, anticipating the grass to change blade-by-blade.
(A version of this first appeared on Velvet Ashes)