Celebrate Jesus Christ’s Glorious Resurrection
This week’s celebration of the resurrection is a time of hope.
We celebrate the resurrection by willingly giving ourselves to Christ Jesus.
Jesus went to the cross to save us, then went from the cross to the throne to become our High Priest.
As we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, may we remember all that He did for us on the cross of Calvary so that we may have hope in an often hopeless, weary world.
In fact, to truly understand the resurrection, we must go back to the foot of Calvary’s cross.
The Message of the Cross
When we consider what happened at Calvary, we see three things:
- The sin of mankind nailed Jesus to the cross. All mankind was responsible for the crucifixion of our Savior. The Roman soldiers, the people watching, you and me…we are all guilty, for it was our sins—collectively and individually—that caused Him to come to earth to give Himself willingly as the ultimate sacrifice.
- God’s love is overwhelming. It was at the cross where both God the Father and Jesus His Son gave history’s greatest gift.
- The Savior willingly gave Himself as the only means to the Father. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Christ was sinless, yet He became our Sin-Bearer. Instead of symbolically cleansing us from defilement and death, the Lord cleansed us from actual sin. It was through His sacrifice at Calvary that the Lord Jesus removed the ultimate obstacle, sin, that had caused centuries of estrangement between God and mankind, thereby allowing the restoration of intimate fellowship with the Father:
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6, ESV)
Christ gave Himself as a ransom, a sacrifice, to pay a debt none of us could have ever paid!
The cross, central to all mankind, stands as God’s ultimate revelation of supernatural love. Why? More importantly, why did He go willingly to Calvary?
The Bible is very clear on the overwhelming reason:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)
Wrote Andrew Murray, noted Bible teacher and author:
There was no other way by which His love could redeem those whom He loved except by Him shedding His blood for them on the cross. It is because of this that He would not allow Himself to be turned aside by the terror of the cross, not even when it caused His soul to tremble and shudder. The cross tells us that He loved us so truly that His love surmounted every difficulty—the curse of sin, and the hostility of man—and that His love has conquered and has won us for Himself. The cross is the triumphant symbol of eternal love. By the cross, love is seated on the throne, so that from the place of omnipotence it can now do for the beloved ones all that they desire.
You and I were once bound in sin, but the Lamb of God, foretold throughout the centuries in the 39 books of the Old Testament, was sinless.
Through Him and the price He paid to set us free, we have salvation and deliverance: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7, KJV).
This redemption is what the Apostle Paul pointed to when he wrote: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The Son of Man’s blood was not spilled but was willingly shed.
Christ, who could have called all of heaven’s angels to wage war on the Roman soldiers, instead went to Calvary voluntarily. He chose to die as a substitute for you and me. He shed His precious blood for us. Jesus told us candidly:
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
No longer need we ask, “Why did Jesus go to the cross?”
Yes, the subject is so eternally huge that volumes of books could not fully answer that question. He loved us, certainly. But why that much? He gave His life as our sacrifice, but why would He do that?
I honestly couldn’t offer up any of my children as a living sacrifice for anyone—not even for someone I dearly loved. It’s unthinkable. It’s especially unfathomable to think that Christ came to earth to love the unlovable that resides in each of us.
The late Dr. Billy Graham, one of history’s greatest evangelists, offered this explanation in his classic book Peace with God:
He, and He alone, had the power and capacity to bring man back to God. But would He? If He did, He would have to come to earth. He would have to take the form of a servant. He would have to humble Himself and become obedient unto death. He would have to grapple with sin. He would have to meet and overcome Satan, the enemy of man’s souls. He would have to redeem sinners out of the slave market of sin. He would have to loose the bonds and set the prisoners free by paying a price—that price would be His own life. He would have to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He would have to be smitten of God and separated from God. He would have to be wounded for the transgressions of men and bruised for their iniquities, His blood shed to atone for man’s sin. He would have to reconcile God and man. He would be the great Mediator of history. He would have to be a substitute. He would have to die in the place of sinful man. All this would have to be done—voluntarily.
In the Old Covenant, God told His people to offer sacrifices. These slain animals symbolically bore the punishment for sin that the people actually deserved. These sacrifices had to be made again and again. You see, this Old Covenant was a glimpse of what would come later:
Jesus gave the New Covenant when He willingly died for our sins:
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:9-10)
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross of Calvary, He sacrificed Himself “once for all.” He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), not, “To be continued.” The Bible declares that Jesus is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17) and the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Because of the Savior’s sacrifice on the cross, you and I are no longer under the law. You have been offered grace (God’s riches at Christ’s expense) instead. He came to die to take away your sin and mine. He erases all our sins, blots out all guilt, offers ultimate victory over death.
The Lord endured the passion on Calvary’s cross to provide each of us with an eternal promise:
“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6).
And for that more excellent ministry and New Covenant, we celebrate the resurrection by willingly giving ourselves to Christ Jesus—to know Him more intimately, to love Him more fully, and to follow Him more completely!
As we celebrate all that Christ did for us on the cross, say with the wonderful writer, teacher, and evangelist Charles Wesley:
And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Christ’s Empowering Blood
In the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit–inspired writer declared that after the Lord Jesus purged our sins, He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). The verbiage is no accident. Sitting speaks symbolically of a finished work.
The right hand points to power. Jesus, through His death, burial, and resurrection, received all authority and power. “Majesty on high” speaks of His position as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16).
Because He is on that throne, the Bible says “we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19).
Jesus went to the cross to save us, then went from the cross to the throne to become our High Priest and to enable us to enter God’s presence.
Do you recall that in the Old Covenant, God responded with fire when blood was offered on the altar? It’s the same today. When the blood and sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the cross is honored, the Holy Spirit comes to touch, enflame, and transform us.
It is for this reason that I never conduct a service without first thanking Jesus Christ for His blood, His sacrifice, His willingness to die for me on Calvary’s rugged cross.
When you enjoy communion, you should remember that the Lord’s Supper is made possible because the Lamb of God was willing to come to earth to save us from all sins. It is through His willingly shed blood that you now can have fellowship with God.
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote:
The blood of Christ—nothing but it can ever save the soul. If some foolish Israelite had despised the command of God and had said, “I will sprinkle something else upon the door posts,” or, “I will adorn the lintel with jewels of gold and silver,” he must have perished. Nothing could save his household but the sprinkled blood. And, now, let us all remember that “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” My works, my prayers, my tears cannot save me. The blood, the blood alone, has power to redeem. Sacraments cannot save me. Nothing but the blood of Jesus has the slightest saving power.
As you recall what He has done for you when His body was broken and His blood was shed, then the presence of God’s Holy Spirit can descend upon you in a miraculous way!
Through Christ’s shed blood, we have hope! This week’s celebration of the resurrection is a time of hope.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
My prayer for you during this season is that you will come to know the cross of Jesus Christ in a deeper way than you have ever known, and that you will be filled with hope and power!
It is my heart’s desire that the work of the cross becomes the most important thing in your life!
And so today, as you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, will you prayerfully consider sowing your precious seed for the work of the Gospel? God Himself says:
Put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11)
I pray that He who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think will bless you beyond measure.
Thank you for serving Him as my precious ministry partner. Thank you for all you are doing for the Kingdom. Thank you for being faithful to the cause of Christ!
In warmest Christian love,