The Power of His
James S. Stewart
The most characteristic word of the Christian
religion is the word “resurrection.” It
you had to choose one word to gather up and express the very essence of the New
Testament faith, this would have to be your choice....
is the dramatic relevance of Easter to our confused, bewildered age. Many in
these tense, tumultuous days are
trembling for the ark of God. Look at
the endemic conflicts between nations, the eruption of violence and cruelty and
hatred, the appearance of sinister new brands of lawlessness and terrorism, the
false values of a sick society, the domineering sway of ideologies which make a
mock of freedom and true humanity. It is
not surprising that many are haunted by the fear that the powers of darkness
may ultimately win the battles, paralyzed by that terrible doubt. But listen!
What if God has already taken the measure of the evil forces at their
very worst and most malignant, has met the challenge precisely at that point,
routing the darkness and settling the issue?
This is the conviction that makes the New Testament—which, mark you, was
written in a far grimmer age than ours – at once the most exciting and the most
relevant book in the world. This is
indeed the basic fact of our holy faith.
The power that was strong enough to get Jesus out of the grave, and thus
to set going the whole Christian movement across the centuries, mighty enough
to smite death with resurrection – this power is in action still....We are
celebrating a magnificent incontrovertible reality. And therefore you and I,
amid all the
battering dilemmas and disillusionments of contemporary history, can lift up
our heads, knowing and rejoicing that God still reigns, and God is in the field
when he is most invisible. Having
accomplished this mighty act in Christ, He shall not fail nor be discouraged
until he has consummated His eternal purpose and brought in the kingdom of
it is this that explains the immense verve of early Christianity. They went,
those followers of Jesus, to men
who had been defeated – physically, morally, and spiritually defeated scores,
hundreds of times – and they said, “Here is the way of victory! God
has brought again from the dead the Lord
Jesus. With such a power at work, what
may not happen – for you?”
That was the message. And lest any of their hearers
they were being merely rhetorical and romantic, always these men of the New
Testament could go on and say, “We know it, for we have proved it. It has worked
it was not necessary for them to say it.
For the fact was apparent. The
resurrection does not depend on verbal statements. How was it that some ordinary,
blundering men were able to go out and turn the world upside down? It was not
that they were commanding
personalities – most of them were not.
It was not that they had official backing, impressive credentials,
illustrious patronage; of all that they had less than nothing. It was this –
that they had clearly established
contact with the power that had resurrected Jesus, or rather, that this
supercharged power had laid hold of them. And still today they accost us,
saying, “It is abroad now in the earth, the power of the resurrection. Why
not for you?” And they look at us with absolute assurance,
“Why not for you?”....
“Do you not believe,” they ask us, “in
God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, through whose creative
Spirit all things are possible?’’ Paul
in one shining passage spells out for the Ephesians the scale on which God
proposes to go to work in their lives, the measure of the resources available
to them; he says it is “on the scale of the might which God exerted when he
raised Christ from the dead.” And if
what Paul and this writer are saying is true –and who am I, who is anyone, to
deny it? How irrational our doubts and fears become! “The God who brought again
from the dead the Lord Jesus, how shall He not – today if you will ask Him
–revive and quicken you?”....
ultimate secret of resurrection power was given by William Cowper in lines we
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
There is the streak of blood. Tear it from thy
throne and worship only
Thee. That is the Good Friday
sacrifice. And beyond it the power of
the new Easter – the marvel of life blossoming red from the dust of self’s
defeat, the joy and peace of triumphing in Christ here on earth and knowing
that this is but a foretaste and a first installment of something still more
wonderful to come when we are finally made one with Him for ever....
Our destiny –if indeed we are united to the living Christ here and now,
and if we are thus through Him joined to the immortality of God – our destiny
is be reunited one day with those loved ones in the habitations of His glory
and dominion, never, never to part again.
And all guaranteed to us by the Christ of Easter and by the risen life
He is offering us now. To Him be the
glory and the thanksgiving this day and for ever. Jesus, still lead on!
Edited from a sermon by James S.
Stewart entitled “The Power of His Resurrection” in his book King For Ever, Abingdon Press,
Nashville, 1975. [acg]
March 2014 Voorhout, Netherlands
Caption: All Fixed Up and Ready to move in...