“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (Jn. 10:17-18)
Still meditating on this same passage: it’s important to point out that resurrection life for believers doesn’t begin at the point of physical death. The New Testament insists that resurrection life begins at the point of faith, at the point of rebirth. Paul, in Romans 6 points believers specifically to their baptism as proof that they have already entered the resurrection. In this sense, death is just the means God has now ordained for our bodies to catch up with the reality.
But in the mean time, we are to live in the full assurance of resurrection life. We are to live with the authority of Jesus’ resurrection, an authority that lays down life and takes it up again. And Lent and Easter seasons are really nothing more than this authority practiced. If Lent is the season in which we practice and meditate on the authority God has given us to lay our lives down, then Easter is the season in which we practice and meditate on the authority God has given us to take our lives back up again.
Easter is all about being alive forever. Easter is all about the renewal of creation, the undoing of the Fall, the cancellation of debts and death and brokenness and sin and darkness. So Easter is for living, for setting free, for giving gifts. At this table, we commemorate Jesus taking the bread and taking the wine, taking up His life, giving it away, and taking it up again. And then He tells us to do it too.
So as you take up this bread and this wine, consider how you will take up life this Easter season. You have forty days to practice living, and of course God gives most of us 365 more days each year. How will you live this Easter? What will you take up? Will you take up violin lessons? Will you plant a garden? Will you have your neighbors over for dinner? Will you write a poem? Will you travel? Will you take your wife on the best dates of her life? Will you learn to dance? Will you build something? Will you invent something? Easter is for living because Jesus has laid His life down and taken it back up. You are called to follow in His train. So take up your life. Take up life and use it. The Spirit has put it right here in our hands.