READ: 1 Chronicles 1-3, Psalm 116, Matthew 27, Hebrews 1
LIFE BY PROXY
Jim Elliot and friends had no idea how many would be called into missions as a result of their sacrificial death. Our deaths can have a profoundly positive effect on others. Our deaths even have resurrection power.
When Jesus “yielded up His spirit” (Matt. 27:50), verses 51 and 52 then tell us that the “…veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split, and the graves were open, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” The fascinating aspect of this event is that it was the death of Jesus that raised these saints–not His resurrection. When we lay down our spirits, something happens in the unseen realm that gives life to the dead. Deaths (of will or body) in the name of Jesus always give life. We bring more life by dying than by living.
Church history records seasons of martyrdoms and I am convinced we are entering one such season; yet common to all ages is the call to a crucified life–death to self. This principle (yielding up our spirit that others might rise from the dead) is always, ever efficacious. As a father of strong teenage boys, I am learning that sometimes yielding to their opinion gives them life. As a husband, it is often in my best interest to yield to the preference of my wife; as she feels honored and cherished, she delights to yield to me. As I yield to my leaders and my followers, something about my death gives them life, and I am the ultimate benefactor of that life. Most importantly as I yield to Jesus, things in my soul that are dead rise from the ashes. Yielding our spirits brings life from the dead, to others and to ourselves.
In the wonderfully mysterious plan of God, our yielding of spirit has impact on those with whom we are not intimate. The saints raised when Jesus died did not know the incarnate Jesus. The text indicates that random men and women were raised from their graves when Jesus died and the veil was torn. Jesus’ yielded spirit unleashed the presence of God, and this irresistible power jerked decaying flesh out of the tomb. When we die to self, when we yield up our spirit in total surrender to God, something in the spirit realm is unleashed–and it has life giving force.
The stakes are too high not to die. It is our death that unleashes power. It is our yielded spirits that gives others life–both those near and far.