Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”  John 5:25

Jesus came to earth to proclaim a shattering truth. You are dead. He spoke, not to corpses lying in tombs but to walking, talking, breathing human beings. In Ephesians, Paul elaborates on the words of Jesus, “As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

You see, the death God spoke about in the Garden of Eden wasn’t metaphorical. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their spirits died. Sin severed the life-giving communion they experienced with God.

The dead cannot hear.

Yet, Jesus said a time was coming when the dead would hear. In fact, Jesus ushered in that time. The gospel proclaims that Jesus came as the remedy to our devastating problem. He came to bring us life.

God, in his mercy, allows dead people — people dead in their trespasses and sins — to hear the voice of Jesus. And those who hear, those who listen, will live. “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21).

So, how do we hear the voice of the Son of God and live?

Hearing requires humility, a readiness to confess sin and repent. Hearing requires belief, an understanding that only Jesus can save. Hearing requires submission, a willingness to follow God’s way rather than our own.

Today, if you choose, you can hear the voice of Jesus and live.

Jesus, I hear your voice calling to me. I repent of my sins and know that only you can save me. Give me life. Teach me to walk in your ways and to experience life-giving communion with you.

As you ponder the mystery of Christ’s passion, reflect on the fact that humankind’s greatest act of rejection of God was God’s greatest revelation of his love.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!: 2 Corinthians 5:17

December 1967, history was made when surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in South Africa. Since then, science has advanced and the list of transplant options has grown. The science of and frequency of joint replacement has also advanced. What’s next?

What if you could have a character transplant? Who in history would you like to emulate? I’ve always been drawn to strong leaders: Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Moses and Jesus. I admire each of these men.

But wait, a character transplant is not something of the future, it already exists! This is the real nature of being a Christ-follower. It’s not an attempt to emulate Christ through self-effort but it is a spiritual relationship with God where the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in persons who place their faith in Christ. This character transplant happens as we allow God’s Spirit, the master surgeon, to remove our anxiety and replace it with peace, take our sadness and replace it with joy. The Bible has a list of transplant options. They are described as the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Just as in physical surgery, our part is realizing our need, being willing to change and trusting the surgeon’s skill. A difference is that we have 24-hour, 7-day-a-week access to the master transplant specialist, who responds to our willingness immediately. He promises to continue the work of transformation till we see him face to face!

Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. I know I need your skilled work in my life to transform my character to be like yours. Thank you that you are not only capable of doing so, but love me and desire to grant me the blessing of your continual attention each day, each moment. Thank you! Amen.

Is there an area that you would like to see God’s Spirit change? An area you know needs the touch of his skilful hands? Invite him to do a transplant. Read The Spirit Filled Life.