I was traveling with some men when we spotted a family stranded alongside the road. My friends immediately pulled over to help. They got the car running, talked with the father and mother of the family, and gave them some money for gasoline. When the mother thanked them over and over, they replied, “We’re glad to help out, and we do it in Jesus’ name.” As we drove away, I thought how natural it was for these friends to help people in need and acknowledge the Lord as the source of their generosity.
Peter and John exhibited that same joyful generosity when they healed a lame man who was begging outside the temple in Jerusalem (Acts 3:1-10). This led to their arrest and appearance before the authorities who asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Peter replied, “If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man . . . let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole” (Acts 4:7-10).
Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and a powerful context in which to genuinely speak to others about the Lord.
Lord, help me to love with both words and deeds, To reach out to others and meet their needs; Lord, burden my heart for those lost in sin, With mercy and love that flows from within. —Fitzhugh
One act of kindness may teach more about the love of God than many sermons.
An ancient painting I saw recently made a deep impression on me. Its title, Anastasis, means “resurrection,” and it depicts the triumph of Christ’s victory over death in a stunning way. The Lord Jesus, newly emerged from the tomb, is pulling Adam and Eve out of their coffins to eternal life. What is so amazing about this artwork is the way it shows how spiritual and physical death, the result of the fall, were dramatically reversed by the risen Christ.
Prior to His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus predicted a future day when He will call believers into a new and glorified existence: “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth” (John 5:28-29).
Because of Christ’s victory over death, the grave is not final. We naturally will feel sorrow and grief when those we love die and we are separated from them in this life. But the believer does not grieve as one who has no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). The witness of Jesus’ resurrection is that all Christians will one day be taken from their graves to be clothed with glorified resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44). And so “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
Dear Lord, thank You for sacrificing Your life for our sins so that we might live. We’re thankful that because You died and rose again, we can have assurance that one day we’ll be with You in a place of no more death.
Because Christ is alive, we too shall live.
In our passage today, John portrays Jesus as both life-giver and judge (5:24). As life-giver, Jesus gives us eternal life. As judge, Jesus will not condemn us (Rom. 8:1). God has given Jesus authority to be life-giver and judge “because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). The title “the Son of Man” is a Messianic title (Dan. 7:13-14) that speaks of Jesus’ deity and humanity. Jesus used the title synonymously with “the Son of God” (Matt. 26:63-64).
A friend of mine, who is a preschool teacher, overheard an animated conversation among her students. Little Maria threw out the question: “Who loves God?” All of them responded, “I do! I do! I do!” Billy said, “I love Jesus.” Kelly protested, “But He died.” Billy said, “Yeah, but every Easter He rises from the dead!”
Obviously, young Billy’s understanding of the meaning of Easter is still developing. We know that Jesus died once for all (Rom. 6:10; Heb. 10:12) and, of course, rose from the dead once. Three days after paying the penalty of our sins on the cross, the sinless Jesus conquered death by rising from the grave and breaking the power of sin. It was this final sacrifice of blood that opened the only way for us to have a relationship with God now and a home with Him forevermore.
“Christ died for our sins, . . . He was buried, and . . . He rose again the third day” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). He has promised that He is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-4), and He will someday return. One day we will be with our risen Savior.
That’s why every year at Eastertime—in fact, every day of the year—we have reason to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1).
Christ’s resurrection is cause for our celebration.
In Hebrews 10:14 we see this remarkable statement: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” How is this possible? Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth answers this question. Since being “good enough” through personal effort is futile (Rom. 7), only a transfer of account from a righteous person to a sinner could remedy the problem. “He made [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ’s atoning death on the cross appeased the wrath of God (Rom. 3:24-26), and His righteousness was attributed to us that we might be declared justified before God.