In recent years, we have seen devastating environmental disasters—tornadoes, fires, floods—that have destroyed homes and entire communities. We have seen school shootings that have taken the lives of innocent students, leaving families emotionally destroyed. We have seen sadistic terrorist attacks tear at the very foundation of a nation’s security and identity, ushering in waves of fear and hatred. We have seen the entire world hiding behind masks, gripped with fear of COVID. And the list goes on …
Every day we either read or watch or hear of a new disaster, so the one that happened yesterday is quickly forgotten with the news of the one that happens today. And the one that happens today will be driven from our minds by what happens tomorrow. Even if the disaster is of record-breaking, Biblical proportions, within a short time it is no longer front-page news and becomes just a statistic or an asterisk in other stories.
We soon forget that those who lived through whatever the disaster was are still struggling to cope. To take the next breath. To survive financially and physically and emotionally and in every other way. It can be overwhelming to rebuild. From scratch. From nothing to something. The comeback trail can be long and hard and flooded with tears.
Which is why Easter pulsates with hope. After the horror of the cross on Friday. After the agony of knowing that God was dead on Saturday, the beginning of His comeback story exploded into human history with an empty tomb.
EXPLODED WITH AN EMPTY TOMB
- From the following verses, list as much proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ as you can find: John 20:1-8, 10-18, 19-20, 24-29; 21:1-14; Matthew 28:1-10, 11-15; Luke 24:1-3, 13-27, 36-39; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Revelation 2:8.
- Give phrases that prove His resurrection was not spiritual or mystical, but literal and physical. See Luke 24:36-40, 41-43; John 20:24-29.
- How serious a matter is it to reject the proof of the resurrection? Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.
- Is Jesus still alive today? Read Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 6:8-10 and 7:54-56; 9:1-6. What does this mean to you?
- What experiences in your own life, or the lives of others you know, are further proof that Jesus is not dead, but is indeed alive today?
- The tomb was empty. Do you truly believe that? Your own comeback begins with a positive answer.
EXPERIENCED WITH POWER
- How does the living Lord Jesus Christ impart power to you and me for our own comeback? Read Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4, 16-18; 3:1-16.
- What astounding connection does the Apostle Paul make between the resurrection of Jesus and the lives of believers? Read Ephesians 1:18-21.
- How did this power transform Jesus’ disciples in Acts 3:1-4:4; John 18:18-19, 25-27 with Acts 4:13; 4:33; 9:1-20?
- In what way have you experienced the power of the Risen Christ to enable you to boldly share the Gospel with an unbeliever? To free you from guilt? To break an addiction? To extend forgiveness to your wounder? To love your enemy? Or to ________________ ? (Fill in the blank.)
- What encouragement do you receive from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 as you struggle to come back?
ENDS WITH GLORY
- How does His comeback story give you hope for tomorrow? Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22; 2 Corinthians 4:13-14; Revelation 3:11.
- In what way are you encouraged today by the promises given because Jesus lives? See Hebrews 7:23-28; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Hebrews 12:2-3; 1 Peter 1:3-5.
- What promise not only for your future, but also the future of the world, directly rests on the fact that Jesus is alive? Read John 14:1-3; Acts 1:10-11.
- How did Jesus allude to His comeback during His trial before the religious leaders in Matthew 26:63-66?
- Describe the climax of His comeback story from these verses: Revelation 1:7, 12-16; 4:1; 5:6-12; 19:6-16.
- How does the end of His comeback story impact the end of your own? See Romans 8:16-17; 1 Peter 1:6-9.
EMBOLDENS US TO TELL OTHERS
- If Jesus never came back from the dead … if He was not raised … what difference would that make to you? To our world?
- Who do you know who is living as though Jesus was dead? What difference do you think it would make to them to know He is alive?
- How did the world in the first century, as well as those through the generations that have followed, know Jesus had risen from the dead? Read John 15:26-27; Matthew 28:5-7; Acts 2:22-24; 5:27-32; 10:39-43.
- How will your family, your friends and your world know Jesus is alive and is coming back?
- Would you celebrate this Easter by telling others that His comeback story can be theirs?
The wonderful, good news of the Gospel is that there can be a comeback story for each of us. We can not only rebuild our lives, we can actually be reborn! Because Jesus lives, we can live, too. Not just one day in Heaven, but right here and now as we struggle with our own comeback story from alcoholism, addiction, depression, disaster, disease, betrayal, brokenness, bankruptcy or whatever has seemed to bury us.
We, too, can explode into abundant life and joy and hope and power through fully trusting in Him. As we work out the day-to-day process of coming back, we can experience His peace and power and presence and purpose. And one day, our comeback trail will end at His throne in our Heavenly Home, and we will reign with Him in glory! Now that’s a story to tell … ©2022 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in April 2014.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.
Above: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains share the hope of Christ’s resurrection with a man affected by tornadoes in Mayfield, Kentucky.
Photo: Joe Bulger/©2021 BGEA