I’ve always been a fan of words. The right words communicate subtle nuances in addition to the obvious message. But we can also arrive at misunderstandings through words as well. Consider a popular expression which Christians use at Easter (you’ll likely hear it this weekend if you attend a church service): “He is risen.” To which the reply is, “He is risen indeed.”
It’s worth noting the language the New Testament writers used when describing the resurrection. They often describe how Jesus was raised to life. Depending on the context, it might read as “be raised,” (Mt. 16:21, 20:19; Lk. 9:22, 24:7) “was raised,” (Jn. 2:22, 21:14) “been raised” (Mt 17:9, 27:64), or specifically that “God raised” (Acts 2:24, 2:32, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 13:34, 13:37). Those are just the examples through the book of Acts.
The point is that Jesus didn’t do it Himself. We might imagine Jesus naturally rising from the dead on His own timing and power. Like it was the inevitable reaction to His dead body lying there for three days. “Oh look, He is risen!” Yet that’s not how the text reads. The Father raised Him to life through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s actually a beautiful picture of the Trinity. Consider a couple of passages that highlight this aspect:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—” Galatians 1:1
When we take the time to appreciate this nuance—especially with Easter this Sunday—we can appreciate the second aspect of these passages, which is the incredible reality that God invites us to have the same experience! Paul writes in Corinthians that “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Cor. 6:14).
If you choose to follow Jesus, the power that raised Him from the dead lives inside you right now to bring life. And this same power will also raise you to life after you physically die. What incredible truth we celebrate at Easter!