As we approach the weekend of Easter, most religious folks are focusing on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what that means for everyone. Although this is vitally important for Christians, we must not forget why there was a resurrection and how important Christ’s death really was. So we are going to look at both Christ’s death and resurrection to see how linked together these events really are.
First, let’s focus on the death of Christ and what that really means. Romans 5:8 points out, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We might hear the phrase, “Christ died for us” but what does that really mean? Why did Christ die? What did he die for? He died in order to bring forgiveness for our sins, so that we don’t have to die because of our sins, but have eternal life. This is the heart of the gospel. The NLT version puts Ephesians 1:7 like this, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” It is the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross that symbolically brings forgiveness for us.
Now you might ask, “Why would God do something like this?” Why would He give up his only Son to save us?” The answer to that is one word. Love. John 3:16 says it best, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God loved the world and loves us so much that He wanted a relationship with us that had been broken because of sin. He wanted us back that He was willing to give His Son, watch him die and shed his blood so we can have that forgiveness and redemption through Jesus. That is the radical love of God that is so powerful it changes your life forever when you allow Him to change you.
So what about the resurrection? What does Jesus rising from the dead have to do with us? Well, essentially, when Christ rose from the dead He was raised to life. Therefore, because Jesus raised to life, that power and life dwells and is given to us. John 11:25 says, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”. Jesus says he is the resurrection and the life. Jesus then says that even though we will die and leave this earth, we will live eternally. Eternal life, for us, is made possible by the power of the resurrection. The resurrection brings victory over eternal death. As paul exclaims in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, ““Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Death has no victory over us because Christ overcame death by rising from the dead. Satan thought he had won when Christ died and if Christ would have stayed dead it would have been a victory in his eyes. But because Jesus rose, conquered death, and now gives us that same power and victory, satan is defeated. Sin and death have no grasp on those who believe in Christ and satan and his power will be defeated on the last day.
As you can see, there is a clear and inseparable connection between the death and resurrection of the Messiah. If Christ had not died, there would be no need for a resurrection because he wouldn’t have died. Without the resurrection, there is no victory over death and sin would be the victor when Christ died. Both Jesus’ death and resurrection mean everything to those who believe and we should celebrate both, hand in hand, all the time.