I just arrived back in the States from a very special trip to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. At each place, I was asked the same weird question, “What else in you needs to die before I bring you back to life?” I was at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher the first time I heard those words. I had my hand in the hole of the rocks where Jesus’ cross was placed when He was crucified, where, in a very literal sense, God died. “Madi, what else needs to die?”
As I stood in one of the little chapels of the Magdala Center along the Sea of Galilee, I gazed upon a mosaic of Jesus taking the hand of a little girl and telling her “Talitha Koum.” “Little girl, arise.” I heard the words again, “What else needs to die?” I didn’t get why He was asking me that question, like “Jesus, what the heck dude, aren’t you life itself? Why are you asking me about death?!”
But the thing is – death isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning! Three days after God died on the cross, He rose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene first, to anoint her with the mission of spreading the message of life. After the whole town knew that Jarius’s daughter was dead, Jesus took the little girl’s hand and told her to rise and be who she was called to be. In order to show His resurrection power, Jesus had to die. There is no resurrection without death. What else in you needs to die so the Holy Spirit can empower you into who you are called to be; because that person, empowered by the Holy Spirit, being exactly who you were made to be, will change the world.
The question kind of reminds me of Bob Goff’s (author of Love Does) practice of quitting something every Thursday. Sometimes it’s small stuff like biting his nails, sometimes it’s big stuff, like dropping out of board positions of important companies and organizations. I think the idea behind it is revolutionary and gets to the same question… what no longer has a place in your heart or life? What is holding you back from being who you were created to be? What is getting you stuck in a rut? You don’t have to be the person you used to be. That’s why Jesus came, to give us life, new life, life to the fullest. When we lose our lives we find them. When we die He gives us new and better life. It’s not morbid at all. It’s the story of the gospel.
So I ask you, what else in you needs to die so the Holy Spirit can empower you to be who you are called to be?Click to tweet
– Madi Myers Cook/Photographer, Storyteller, Missionary