Throughout history the Church has emphasized the passion, the sufferings, and the death of Christ on the Cross, and thus highlighting the sufferings and sorrow of earthly existence. This is well and good, but we must not park there. There is the other side of the Cross—the Resurrection side—that we must embrace and live in.
On the suffering side of the Cross, the disciples of Jesus, as depicted in the Gospels, are dull, fearful, and selfish, even arguing over who will be the greatest in the kingdom. On the Resurrection side of the Cross, as depicted in Acts, everything has changed. They are now alive, insightful, and fearless as the proclaim the Good News of Jesus and His Resurrection. They are living on the Resurrection side of the Cross.
I have preached the funerals of my father, my mother, and two brothers. In each case, I experienced, not just a sense of comfort, but a sense of jubilant triumph because of the Resurrection of Jesus. Living on the Resurrection side of the Cross makes all the difference in the world when facing death.
Living on the Resurrection side of the Cross also makes all the difference when facing devastating situations in life. In the early days of our marriage and ministry, Sue and I lost everything, including a place to live. A God-given vision and ministry seemed to have died.
One day, however, as we prayed, the Holy Spirit rose up in me and began praying through me in tongues. I could actually feel His presence flowing up from my spirit and out through my mouth. All the time this was happening I was hearing these words, “Don’t be afraid of death because I Am the Resurrection.”
I immediately recalled that these were the words Jesus spoke to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus after He had said to her, “Your brother will live again.” Martha had replied, “I know He will live again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus then said, “I Am the Resurrection” and proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:23-25).
Through this encounter, God was calling me to live on the Resurrection side of the Cross. I also realized for the first time that the Resurrection is more than just a past or future event. The Resurrection has been personified in the person of Jesus Christ. Our resurrected Lord is now living in His people through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.
After the above experience, we listened, persevered, and took a step of faith. A Catholic brother whom we had never met was sent our way and made a building available to us. We opened the doors, and a powerful revival broke out. The building quickly filled to capacity with standing room only. Out of death, Resurrection life had burst forth!
The New Testament Church knew nothing of an Easter Sunday. They did not celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus once per year. Read Acts! They were consumed with the reality that Jesus was alive and His Resurrection was the center of their life and the focus of their witness and preaching. They lived on the Resurrection side of the Cross.
I pray that this Resurrection season the modern Church will experience a renewed vision of the significance and magnitude of Christ’s Resurrection. I pray that once again the people of God will live on the Resurrection side of the Cross.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, revivalist, Bible teacher, and church historian. His books documenting America's birth out of the First Great Awakening are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.