Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.
As spring arrives and the Easter season draws nigh, evidence of new life abounds. Nature is filled with the drama of greening grass, budding trees, blooming flowers, chirping birds and warming days. And, o’ yes, mowing season has resumed. But it’s worth it for the opportunity to be outside in the midst of spring’s pageant.
New life, however, is not only a seasonal observation; it is, even more, an eternal reality “writ large” in the lives of those who meet Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. His resurrection accrues to life by faith. Paul says, we are raised up with Him (Ephesians 2:6). Again, Paul says, “We shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). And Peter says, “We are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
The times in which we live are in desperate need of new life encouragement and hope. The increasing availability of the COVID vaccine has been a welcome “shot in the arm” (pun intended) to many. A sense of relief is beginning to replace the sense of foreboding. It has the feel of new life. Yet even vaccines fall short of offering the heart-healing, life-lifting and soul-strengthening vitality of new life in Jesus.
So here’s the backstory ... A small band of mourners laden with grief trudged to the garden tomb very early on that Sunday morning long ago. The ground was heavy with dew and hearts were heavy with sorrow. Fear was in control. Death dominated. Life was shattered. But upon arrival, the first light of a new day dawning fell upon a scene of wonderment. A rolled-away stone, a vacant shroud, and an empty tomb came into view. What did it all mean? The answer came momentarily. An other-worldly messenger said, “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is not here, but HE HAS RISEN!” (Luke 24:5-6). Then again, momentarily, the answer was confirmed by the appearance of the Living Lord. Jesus was indeed risen from the dead!
Newness of life exploded as the dominant truth. Fear and death were conquered. Hope and victory were triumphant. Life was freed from the shackles and chains of sin and fallenness. The “new” in new life now referred to “brand new” as in being born again. And it was the resurrection of Jesus that made and makes that possible. Whenever and wherever life meets His Lordship in faith, fresh starts and new beginnings are at hand. As Scripture says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has passed away; all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Spring provides a seasonal display of new life — it’s refreshing! The vaccine offers a protective measure of new life — it’s reassuring! But Jesus bestows an eternal gift of new life — it’s redeeming! As spring arrives, vaccines are distributed, and Easter is celebrated, let us rejoice and praise God “who gives life to all things” (1 Timothy 6:13).
Ed Clevinger is minister of Grace Christian Church in Kingsport.