Romans 8:11 (NKJV)
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
There once was a boy named Jack whose family was very poor. His father had died and he and his mother lived alone on their small farm. But the crops had failed and Jack and his mom had only one choice left: they’d have to sell their cow so they could get enough money to buy food and seed for the next season.
So Jack’s mom sent him to market and Jack, like a good boy, made his way to town. But along the way he met an old man by the side of the road. “Beans, beans, magic beans!” the man cried. Jack was curious. “What do these beans do?” he asked. “Ah, plant these beans,” the man replied, “and they will grow into a huge vine that will rise to a massive height and take you to the giant’s castle where he holds the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Golden eggs! Well that was just the thing for Jack. If he could get those golden eggs then he and his mom would be free of their troubles.
So Jack made the trade – his cow for the old man’s beans. Whistling happily Jack returned home and proudly showed his mom the beans he had obtained in exchange for the cow. But Jack’s mom – as you may recall – was none too pleased with her son. “You foolish boy,” she declared. “Those aren’t magic beans – that old man has fooled you and now we have nothing left either to eat or to plant in the spring!”
Jack was grieved that his mom was unhappy with him – for he was a good boy. So what did Jack do? He determined to put those beans to the test. Late that night, when the full moon was shining on their farm, Jack went out and planted the beans, watered them, and then returned to bed. “Perhaps now my mom will see that these beans really were magic.”
Early the next morning, before his mom was awake, Jack got up, put on his clothes, and ran outside to check on his beans. Normally, of course, this would be an exercise in futility – beans don’t grow overnight – but these were magic beans. And there before Jack’s eyes, reaching high up into the sky, was the biggest bean stock Jack, or anyone else, had ever seen. It soared up into the clouds, far out of Jack’s sight. Jack had been right – they were magic beans.
And how did Jack know they were magic beans? He planted them, he put them to the test.
Brothers and sisters, this is Eastertide, the time of year when we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. So why was Jesus raised from the dead? Listen as the great historian Eusebius explains the reason to the emperor Constantine upon the 30th anniversary of Constantine’s reign:
Suppose one desired to show us that a vessel could resist the force of fire; how could he better prove the fact than by casting it into the furnace and thence withdrawing it entire and unconsumed? Even so the Word of God, who is the source of life to all, desiring to prove the triumph over death of that body which he had assumed for man’s salvation… pursued a course consistent with this object. …delivering [his body] up to death in proof of its mortal nature, he soon redeemed it from death, to demonstrate the immortality of the body accomplished by His Divine power and the powerlessness of death.
Even as Jack proved his beans were magic by planting them, Jesus demonstrated the immortality of the body by dying and rising from the dead. With this difference: Jack and his beans are a mere fairy tale but Jesus’ death and resurrection are the fairy tale come true – they really happened.
Brothers and sisters – Christ is risen! Let us rejoice! Death no longer has the final word. The sting of death has been broken; the power of the grave has been shattered. Hades has given up his captives and we can now rejoice in the power of God and face death as a defeated foe. There is no cause for fear – if we are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His power over sin and death, then we need not fear or be afraid. God our own God will deliver us and rescue us.
And so reminded that our Lord Jesus died and rose again to teach us to live without fear of death, let us kneel and confess that we have often been overcome by our fears instead.