#MeditationMonday – Out of the abundance of a man’s heart, his mouth speaks.
A Sunday school teacher was teaching a group of four-year-olds. It was Easter Sunday and she asked, “Does anyone know what today is?” One little girl raised her hand and said, “It’s Easter.” The teacher complimented her and then asked, “Does anyone know what makes Easter so special?” The same little girl raised her hand and said, “Easter is special because Jesus rose from the dead…”Before the teacher could compliment her, the little girl added, “but if He sees His shadow, He has to go back in for seven weeks.”
I’m frightened by Easter.
You see, many Easter messages are usually no more than a verbal tour of the graves of religious leaders. It’s the usual:
Oh but not Jesus, Jesus is RISEN.
Whenever I hear messages like that preached, I find them insulting. Yes, I find it insulting that all is Easter is about for many Christians is comparing tombs and swapping information about the graves of religious figures. I don’t need to tell you the story of Easter, we all know it word for word. The message that Jesus is risen is a great truth but more often than not, it sounds no better than little children saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. My God’s better than your god.”
The Easter story is more than pointing at an empty tomb, it was not the empty tomb that convinced the disciples – it was The Risen Christ. Easter is more than an argument for life after death or a demonstration of the power of God. Easter is God’s recognition of the value of your life. When we sing “our God has robbed the grave” do we really understand what it means? Do we know what Jesus really did for us? Do we know how much it cost Him? Do we know what Easter affords us? Let’s meditate on some of the privileges of Easter (the death & resurrection) through a few key verses.
1. The Debt Is Paid: A Reliable And Rescuing Savior
Romans 4:25: [AMP] “who was betrayed and crucified because of our sins, and was raised [from the dead] because of our justification [our acquittal—absolving us of all sin before God].”
Easter affords us the privilege of righteousness. We are acquitted and absolved of all sin before God and (vs. 24) justified by an imputed righteousness —shall be imputed; i.e future tense, signifying the continuation of God’s mercy. Jesus’ sacrifice opened an inexhaustible fountain of God’s mercy. By Jesus’ death He paid our debt of sin with God and in His resurrection He acquitted us.
What Jesus did doesn’t just pardon us before God, a pardon would mean that the debt is owed, but God let us go without paying it. No, saying that minimizes what Jesus really did. What Jesus did acquits us before God – an acquittal means a fully paid debt, we have nothing outstanding with God, as a matter of fact we are made as if we never even owed a debt. What all this means is that the resurrection of Christ is the proof that God accepted His Son’s sacrifice — now can you imagine if there were no easter?
Romans 10:9 [AMP]: “because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Two things are required as conditions of salvation: (a.) Confessing the Lord Jesus (b.) Believing in the heart that God raised him from the dead.
Easter is focused on Part B of salvation.
Easter imposes on us a duty to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead — believing is the condition required to receive the privilege of righteousness. Therefore, Christianity fails if there is no resurrection – so maybe you can begin to understand why I’m frightened by Easter. We have to believe in God’s greater miracle of raising Christ from the dead. Our faith is not in an empty tomb, but in a living Saviour whose resurrection was God the Father’s seal of sufficiency on His Son’s sacrifice for us.
2. A Different Kind Of King: Newness of Life
Romans 6:4 [AMP]: “We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways].”
Those who are united with Christ have died to, and have been freed from, sin. When we became the members of Christ’s race, we left Adam’s race. Adam’s race was dominated by sin.
Jesus didn’t just pay the debt of our previous sin and acquit us, that’s great but it would be meaningless if we could sin again and owe another debt to God. So Jesus goes a step further and ensures that we too are buried and resurrected with Him so that we conquer sin and receive a newness of life.
Jesus essentially vaccinates us against the debt of sin. Not against sin itself, because we know that this body fails us every day and we are constantly in need of God’s grace and mercy. When our old self is crucified with Christ, the self that is dominated by sin is done away with – to do away with means to remove by association. Greathouse writes, “It is not the body as such that is to be destroyed, but the body as sin’s tool.”
What Jesus did is ensure that Sin cannot reign over us, even in our mortal bodies that we should obey it, (vs. 12). Although Christians still struggle with sin, the threat of judgment for their sin was removed at the cross. Sin may remain but as an outlaw. It may oppress us, as a tyrant, yet it cannot reign as a king – only a king can demand a debt. Once you make Jesus king of your soul, your debt to sin is paid but if sin is king over your life, then sin will come and collect its debt – the wages of sin is death.
Spiritually we were buried with Christ in His death. His resurrection life has become ours. If we are truly born again, we will want to walk in newness of life – new habits, new desires, new feelings.
Keyword: want, because while we may have old habits, desires or feelings within us, we will no longer want those, we will begin to want a newer, better life. That is the evidence of Christ’s resurrection in us – we will begin to desire to walk habitually in newness of life.
Again, you see why Easter is so frightening? If you do not desire this newness of life, can you really say you have been resurrected? Can you really say you have been born again by the Spirit of God?
3. The Holy Spirit: A Permanent & Protective Helper
Romans 8:11 [AMP]: “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”
The Spirit of God lives in us, this means that God’s spirit has a settled, permanent and protective influence upon us. Jesus said that if He did not return to the Father, we would not receive our helper – The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is evidence of the resurrection of Christ. If you say you have the Holy Spirit, it means that Jesus’ resurrection is real. If you speak in tongues, if you have any of the gifts of the spirit, it means that what we celebrate at Easter is real.
The Spirit gives life to that body today so that we may serve God. If we should die, the body will one day be raised from the dead, because the Holy Spirit has sealed each believer.
It makes a big difference in your body when the Holy Spirit lives within you. You experience new life, and even your physical body takes on a new dimension of experience – you can fast, you can pray, you can prophesy, and do all this crazy stuff that’s unreal
like heal yourself from a headache with nothing but a word of prayer.
So, once more, indulge me. Imagine there was no easter. No easter means no Holy Spirit. No Holy Spirit means no Gifts or Fruits of the Spirit – can you begin to see how everything falls apart? How dead your world and life would be if there was no easter? There would be no healing, no miracles, no faith, NOTHING. And that’s frightening.
Now it would be impossible to talk about the resurrection of Christ without talking about 1 Corinthians 15 because it is the principal scripture on the resurrection. We will look at that, in another message.
The focus here and why this message is titled our sunrise saviour is that, at sunrise, we see light and light often makes us feel hopeful. We feel refreshed, we feel life. The sun is one of the biggest bodies of creation, it’s something that illuminates the earth. If you’ve ever seen the sunrise, you’ll know it’s a beautiful thing, a wonderful experience and no doubt – that’s what Easter is for us as Christians. The knowledge of Christ’s resurrection illuminates our world.
You see, at first light, the women ran to His tomb, they saw the sunrise that day but they definitely didn’t feel hope. They were going there to spice and preserve a dead body, but when they got there, they received a hope, joy and refreshing that an actual sunrise couldn’t be compared to. It is the same for us today.
Whenever we think of the truth of Christ’s resurrection, we ought to be filled with a joy and hope that nothing else compares to. The truth is that Christianity would be barren, dishonest, empty and fruitless if Christ had remained dead – this is why He is our sunrise saviour. At each sunrise, we are saved, our lives aren’t empty and fruitless, that’s the message of Easter, that’s why it’s so special.
Prayer: Lord, I am so privileged to be a part of what you’ve done through Christ Jesus your son. Thank you for being my sunrise saviour. I do not take it for granted, I thank you so much. May the declaration that Christ is risen resound in the lives of all those I meet and forever be the truth of which I speak. In Jesus name, Amen.
Grace & Peace!