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.
I’ll never forget the Easter Sunday in 1993 when Bernhard Langer won the Masters golf tournament. As he stepped off the 18th green to receive the green jacket—one of golf’s most coveted prizes—a reporter said, “This must be the greatest day of your life!” Without missing a beat, Langer replied: “It’s wonderful to win the greatest tournament in the world, but it means more to win on Easter Sunday—to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior.”
Langer had an opportunity to boast about himself, but instead he turned the spotlight on Jesus Christ. It’s exactly what Paul was talking about when he said, “We also rejoice [boast] in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5:11).
It’s easy to look for ways to draw attention to our own accomplishments, making mental lists of things that are “cool” about ourselves. Even Paul admitted that he had a lot to brag about—but he considered all of it “rubbish” for the sake of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). We would do well to follow his example.
So, if you really want something to boast about, boast about Jesus and what He’s done for you. Look for opportunities to turn the spotlight on Him.
Naught have I gotten but what I received, Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed; Boasting excluded, pride I abase— I’m only a sinner saved by grace! —Gray
You can’t boast in Jesus while you’re preoccupied with yourself.
In Romans 5, the apostle Paul reminds us of our great blessings and privileges as followers of Christ. In verses 1-2, he says that in Christ we have “peace with God” and “access” to God through our faith relationship with Christ. This is part of what he would later call our “reconciliation” to God (vv.10-11). We’ve been restored to relationship with Him through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.