Good Last-Minute Easter Song: “Resurrection Power”

“Resurrection Power” is a new song from worship leader Chris Tomlin. If you’ve led music in church for any length of time, you are familiar with Tomlin’s music.

Any new song from Tomlin carries with it a strong recommendation. He is one of only four artists (in any genre ever) to receive the Sound Exchange Digital Radio Award for over 1 billion digital radio streams. He is also the most sung songwriter in history. That is to say, his songs have been documented to have been sung by more people than anyone else’s ever.

Here are two reasons why “Resurrection Power” is perfect for Easter, followed by a lyrical breakdown of the song.

It’s thematically relevant

“I can’t think of a better song at the start of the year than a song about new life declaring ‘The old is gone, the new is here!’” said Tomlin. “I believe this song is going to give so much hope to people as it presents the victory Christ offers us.”

This, of course, is what we celebrate on Easter: Christ destroying death through His resurrection. Easter Sunday is a giant victory cry—a celebration of new life.

It’s musically accessible

Musically, imagine “How Great Is Our God” meets “Angel Armies (Whom Shall I Fear).” Much like the two massively popular songs that it reminds us of, “Resurrection Power” is well suited for the church to sing (which Mark Swayze says is especially important on Easter). The range is comfortable, at one note over an octave. The bridge is high enough to almost require belting it out, which is perfect—a built-in reason for people to sing like they mean it!

The song was recorded in Db, but in Tomlin’s acoustic version on Worship Together, he plays in the key of C to make it a bit more relaxed. One interesting chord that’s not as common comes in the middle of the verses. It’s an Em in the key of C, called the 3 minor in the Nashville number system. This gives it a dark sound with a different flavor than the 2 minor or 6 minor that are more commonly used in worship songs.

Lyrical analysis

Verse 1

You called me from the grave by name
You called me out of all my shame
I see the old has passed away
The new has come

This is the longing of our hearts. We see it in advertising and hear it in conversations among strangers—we are all longing for something new. We’re tired of the old, and if we’re honest, we know that who we are in and of ourselves isn’t enough. And on a deeper level, we are weighed down by our guilt and shame. We’re dead. We need new life. This is what the resurrection means for us (2 Cor 5:17).

Chorus

Now, I have resurrection power living on the inside
Jesus, You have given us freedom
No longer bound by sin and darkness
Living in the light of Your goodness
You have given us freedom

In an interview, Tomlin said of the chorus, “… When I first heard it, it just knocked me out. Every time we’d get to that chorus, I loved [its rhythm]—the way you sing it, it instantly gets in you, you’re instantly singing.”

But greater than the melody, Tomlin went on to say, is the message of the song, so filled with life and hope. For those in Christ, his power over death resides within us. And the fact that Christ has been raised from the dead after paying the penalty for our sin means that he does indeed have the power to save us from our sins. Because we are not bound to our sin, we aren’t headed toward death anymore (1 Cor 15:12–20).

As Romans 6:4–5 says:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

What a freedom this brings—an indestructible joy and hope too powerful for any enemy to overthrow. We are truly alive now, and we bask in his goodness. This is what the resurrection means for us.

Verse 2

I’m dressed in Your royalty
Your Holy Spirit lives in me
I see my past has been redeemed
The new has come

Now that we are alive in Christ, we also are seated with Him at the right hand of the Father (Eph 2:6). We have God himself, the Holy Spirit, living inside of us. What power, what help, what a seal of our salvation! The redemption of our past by Christ’s work on the cross renders us a new creation. The past flesh, that old self, was nailed on the cross when Jesus was crucified (Gal 2:20). And as he rose from the grave, so did we—free from the weight of sin and shame!

Bridge

Freedom, You have given us freedom
You have given us freedom
My chains are gone
Freedom, You have given us freedom
You have given us freedom
Hallelujah

What a cathartic bridge. It’s hard to sit still while singing this. The words “chains” and “hallelujah” are the two moments where the song stretches to its top note. Dwelling on the beauty of our freedom in Christ is how we stand firm and resist returning to the shackles of slavery (Gal 5:1).

We’ll give Chris Tomlin the closing word about this song:

It’s a song of victory, a song of walking in victory and newness of life. Not only a song for Easter, but an amazing reminder for everyday. No matter what you’re going through—you may be going through the lows of life—you can be reminded that you have resurrection power living in you.

***

Song notes

Writer(s): Ryan Ellis, Ed Cash, Tony Brown
Theme(s): Communion & Reflection, Resurrection & Sacrifice, Easter
Tempo: Medium
BPM: 75
Original Key(s): Db
CCLI #: 7102607
Scripture Reference(s): Romans 8:11, Galatians 2:20
This is a guest post by music professionals Cody Norris and Stephen Folden.  Photo by Dion Tavenier.

Faithlife Proclaim: Simple, beautiful, powerful.

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Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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