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How the Resurrection Changes Everything

How the Resurrection Changes Everything

Editor’s note: HAPPY EASTER! He is risen! Jesus has conquered the grave and saved us from our sin, from death, from separation from Himself. Praise His name! Enjoy this excerpt from Raised?: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson.


Implications of the Resurrection: Risking Ourselves for Humanity

Jesus informs our resurrected life. He gives us a new and gracious authority, a new identity, and a new mission. With that in view, what does it look like to participate in this task of renewing the world? Where do we begin? Jesus has painted for us a great picture of the new life.

If Jesus did, indeed, rise from the dead, we have nothing to fear and everything we need.

All that we strive for is fulfilled in Jesus. All that we seek to avoid has been resolved by Him. For example, if Jesus rose from the dead, we no longer need to strive for acceptance because we are now accepted by Him. If Jesus rose from the dead, we don’t need to fear death, because it has been defeated. This means that we are free to smuggle medical supplies into Burma, even at the risk of death, knowing that our eternal fate is already sealed. We can move to distant countries to invest in development and renewal because Christ did the same for the world. Like the early Christians, we can care for the poor and marginalized in our cities.

  • If we have resurrection life, we will have courage to take risks in the name of love.

A close friend of mine is starting a coffee-roasting business with the aim of one day moving to Mumbai, India, to aid an organization that cares for children and women exploited in sex trafficking. It is wonderful and it is risky. He purchases beans from India, roasts them, and sells them to raise awareness. The profits go back into helping folks start a new resurrected life. My friend could lose everything in the business. He is leaving behind his extended family and the comforts of home. That’s the power of the resurrection in our lives. The resurrected Jesus leads us and empowers us to use all of our gifts and all of our lives for the flourishing of others.

Risking our lives for the sake of others looks different for each person. It comes in all kinds of forms, from sacrifice to celebration. Let’s close by looking at three implications of resurrection life: give, celebrate, and serve.


Disciples of Jesus will no longer hoard what they have. Instead, they give it away. The hope of resurrection frees us to live generous lives. When we look at our hands, our bank accounts, our homes, and our time, we ask, “God, how can I be a blessing to Your people?” There is no need to hoard possessions because you have abundant life in Jesus. You invest your life in His calling to make disciples. This is no overnight task; it’s a lifetime endeavor.

Making disciples will bring you joy and hardship. After all, this invitation is radical — exchange your authority for Jesus’ authority, your self-made identity for his better identity, your purpose for His purpose. But this is how the resurrection works: in dying to ourselves we receive the life Jesus offers. Every gift and “sacrifice” we make becomes another opportunity to realize the greatness and goodness of God’s gift to us in the resurrected Christ.

What does this kind of giving look like in normal, everyday life? My wife makes the best cookies in the world. I didn’t come to that conclusion on my own; it has been confirmed by people all over the world. I won’t give away the recipe, but I will say that within each bite of cookie, you experience the pleasing combination of Nutella, dark chocolate chips, sea salt, and browned butter. Baking these cookies is a three-stage process that changes people’s lives.

We live in a middle class neighborhood where everyone has everything they need. So blessing and giving for my wife looks like this: baking cookies on the dark and rainy days here in Portland and giving all of them away. As kids and adults arrive home after long days at school and work, they are met by warm cookies. While they are working hard throughout the day, she is working hard to bless them on their return. She gives up her day for the benefit of others. Our neighbors are overjoyed, thankful, and quite honestly, comforted. Who doesn’t like coming home to homemade cookies? This is something simple, but it is an everyday picture of the resurrected life. We give abundantly from what we have to bless others.


Part of experiencing the power of the resurrected life is sensing your need to pause regularly and celebrate. You can sing, dance, paint, and bake all in praise of God’s goodness. You can marvel at the story of God and the honor you have to participate in it. All are welcome at these celebrations: the shy, the awkward, and the rude. Our parties will be open and welcoming because we know that Christ came to us when we were not desirable and invited us to join Him.

Who Jesus is and what He has done is at the center of your joyful celebration.

We have one of these times of celebration every year on the Fourth of July. It’s one of the high points in our community calendar. Our front yard becomes a big party space as neighbors, coworkers, and friends gather to celebrate on our front porch. The day is marked by good drink, good food, and good conversation for everyone (young and old). We start at lunch and go until dark, when we shoot off small firecrackers in the street with all the neighborhood kids.

The first year we did this was marked by an impromptu jam session. I found myself playing bass guitar on a neighbor’s porch for four hours. Alongside me was a semi-retired artist, a realtor, a friend from out of town, and a chorus of folks dancing and cheering us on while little kids colored every inch of the sidewalk with chalk. Hopefully you have experienced a party like this in your lifetime. Maybe it was a wedding, Thanksgiving, or just a gathering of friends. If you have, you have tasted the sort of community and celebration that the resurrected life produces. Imagine a celebration not about independence from a European power, or birthdays, or even a new marriage, but a celebration of death defeated and life forever. That is a party. That is joy.

I live in a city where less than 4 percent of the population believes Jesus rose from the dead. Even fewer go to gatherings to celebrate Jesus. While most of the city is making brunch plans, our church is meeting in a dance venue. Musicians are crafting tunes as they invite everyone to participate in celebrating Jesus and the joy of the resurrected life. We listen to a teacher expound on the story of God, reminding us why we are here and what we are here to do. People shout, sing, dance, and smile. We hug one another and encourage each other to live courageous and generous lives of love. Why? Because Jesus rose from the dead. Isn’t that reason to celebrate early on a Sunday morning? Who is welcome? Everyone!


If Christ has reconciled us to Himself, serving us in our rebellion and sin, we should follow His example and seek reconciliation with others. Because Christ has served us, we are free to follow Jesus in caring for the vulnerable and those who need to hear the story of God.

Yes, it will be a struggle and a sacrifice.

  • You will need to fight for reconciliation sometimes.

Where there are disagreements, you will fight for peace. Where there is injustice, you will need to find creative ways to bring justice. Jesus did everything needed to restore the relationship between God and humanity, and you are now invited to join Him in His work of restoring broken relationships.

This may take the form of adopting orphans or caring for teenage mothers. It could look like hosting the homeless and visiting prisoners. You will need to fight for justice and for people to be treated as people of worth and value, people for whom God’s Son gave His life to save. You will daily need to ask yourself: “How can I bring hope and love into this world, this city, and my neighborhood?”

A couple named the Pauls are in their fifties. They live in inner-city Portland, a neighborhood that is a cocktail of the rich and poor. Historically, this had been a low-income area of the city, but it has now become a haven for the city’s growing creative class. Some of them, like the Pauls, are Christians, and they intentionally moved there to make disciples. Almost instantly, this couple became grandparents to the neighborhood. They opened their home for art camps, garden clubs, and college football on Saturdays. They have invested relationally in the neighborhood — from the gas station employees to small business owners. They listen to people and welcome them into their lives. They are famous for serving and sharing God’s love with everyone.

But what is remarkable to their neighbors is the Pauls’ story. The Pauls are from Arkansas, well on their way to a retirement lifestyle of babysitting their grandchildren. Then, they sensed God calling them to move to Portland. They had a comfortable, suburban home, but left that comfort to go to a culture and city completely foreign to their own. They arrived in the city as servants, dedicated to giving their lives away. If you ask them how it’s going, if it has been worth the sacrifices, they will smile and say: “We can’t imagine living any other way. We won’t go back to the way things were before.”

This is the power of the resurrected life. Serving others is a sacrifice, yes. But that sacrifice is filled with joy. You won’t be able to imagine living any other way.


Jesus tells those who follow Him to leave all they have behind, to give their lives to the poor, to love their enemies, and to be a blessing to the world. Let’s not pretend this is easy to do.

Following Jesus will require your whole life. Not just part of it. Not just your leisure time. Not just some of your budget. No, it requires your whole life.

It will feel like death and suffering at times. It will feel that way because you are laying your life down. That’s what the resurrection looks like in daily life. We do not hold anything back — our talents, possessions, or time — because we live with the certainty that death and sin have been defeated.

There is no sugarcoating it. You will lose your life. In its place you will find a vibrant, full, and eternal life. By dying to ourselves we become alive to the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead empowers us to live a life for Jesus. His death and resurrection have become our death and resurrection. Our old life is gone, and we now experience a new authority, identity, and mission. This is why we give, celebrate, and serve:

  • we have died and have been raised again to experience new and abundant life.

Watch the Video

Excerpted with permission from Raised?: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson, copyright Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson.

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Your Turn

He is risen! And, because He is risen, we, too, are resurrected in Him! We are free to give our lives away. Free to live poured out at He did! Let’s do it!