God merely spoke, and everything came into existence. There was nothing difficult for the Author of creation. He used no tools, no electricity, no blueprints. He used only His perfect and boundless imagination to create the sun and planets, every plant and animal, colors, sounds, light and darkness. There was a time in eternity past when there was nothing, and when the Creator simply spoke, there have been all sorts of somethings ever since. There are eight million species of animals, one hundred types of roses, and there is no end to the number of colors that exist, although people can only view about one thousand of them. Romans 1 tells us through creation, God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen. From the tiniest dust mite to the largest star in the known universe, creation testifies to the immeasurable power of El Shaddai--God Almighty.
One would expect then, when the apostle Paul wanted to educate believers in the early churches about the power of God, he might write to them about the power in Isaiah 40, or quote the prophet Job, who stood mute as God questioned Him for three entire chapters on the intricacies of creation. Perhaps he would recount the parting of the Red Sea or tell about the day the sun stood still and the Israelites had victory over the Amorites. Surely those are amazing demonstrations of God’s power working in the lives of His people.
Paul, our beloved teacher, instead chose to tell us about God’s amazing power through the resurrection of His Son, Jesus. In Ephesians, he prays for the believers to know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (1:19-20). I had to stop and wonder about this for a while. Three people were raised from the dead in the Old Testament, six in the New Testament, plus the unnumbered souls raised at Jesus’ crucifixion. In the Old Testament, the three resurrections occurred through Elijah and Elisha. In the New Testament, Jesus raised three people, Paul raised one person, Peter raised one person, and Jesus was raised. Resurrection was not a common occurrence, but it happened nonetheless. So why is God’s power so well displayed in Jesus’ resurrection?
I see two reasons, though I’m sure there are more. First, everyone raised from the dead aside from Christ died again. Lazarus, Tabitha, Euthychus, and the others all lived for a time after their resurrections, but none of them is alive on the earth today. Their bodies are all long decayed in their graves.
Second, and much more important, is that Jesus’ resurrection is a perfect picture of what God does in the life of every believer. We are all spiritually dead in our sins, and dead people do not accomplish anything. The dead are unable to think, to choose, or to do anything to change their circumstances. Paul knew this firsthand as he thought back to that day on the Damascus road. He had just witnessed, perhaps even cheered on, the stoning of Stephen. He was zealous to get to Damascus and find other followers of The Way, so that they could be put to death as well. Then El Shaddai knocked him down, and Paul’s dead soul was resurrected to the life of a new creation. Nothing could undo what God had done. Paul was given the faith in Jesus as a gift of God--not something he researched or mustered up on his own. And as Jesus said in John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Because God uses His immeasurable power toward us just as He raised Jesus from the dead, we are alive in Christ! We will never know the awesome and terrifying wrath of God, but instead we take refuge under His wings. We have been raised with Christ (Col 3:1) by the power and love of God!
Ann Dunlap lives in Northeast Indiana with Jeff, her husband of 28 years, Lizzie their teenage daughter, and their dog Bailey. She works as an ophthalmic technician, leads women's Bible studies and participates in music ministry in her church. She loves to write poetry and writes frequently for the religion section of the local paper. You can read more from Ann at her blog Strong in Weakness, Glowin’ in the Dark.