Jesus alone is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). “…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might be raised to walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).
Jesus was crucified for our sins during the Jewish Passover on the 14th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which occurs in the Spring. He is called our Passover (1 Cor 5:7). “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). We commemorate His sacrifice each Sunday in the Lord’s Supper by the unleavened bread (representing His body punished for our sins) and the fruit of the vine (representing His life blood given in our place as a substitute). This is commanded by Jesus on this certain “day” (Matt 26:29; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2). Jesus clearly said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). This weekly — not annual — memorial is according to apostolic example, beginning on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:42; 20:7).
The miraculous resurrection of Jesus on the first day of the week is a historical fact, which confirms and vindicates His identity as the Son of God and Savior of the world (Rom 1:4). “He was raise for our justification” (Rom 4:25). What daily difference has the risen Christ made in our lives?
So, isn’t it astounding that so many will fill a church building once a year and yet they have completely missed the real meaning of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection? The Bible clearly teaches that those who claim to follow Christ will die to self in the water grave of baptism (immersion), to contact His saving blood (Rom 6:3; Acts 22:16). “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might be raised to walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Paul wanted to know “the power of His resurrection” (Phil 3:10) in living a sacrificial life for Christ.
Jesus probes our profession of faith: “why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things that I say?” (Luke 6:46). If you say you believe in the risen Christ, what difference has this made in your life? With our Risen, Reigning Lord, death has died and hope is alive!
1. Our Daily Attitude. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:1-3).
A committed disciple, “raised to walk in newness of life,” will have a new, spiritual attitude. Each day we will think of heaven, hell and judgment – ultimate spiritual realities. Prayers rise up above this world to the very throne of God in the spiritual realm. Meditation on Jesus’ life, as recorded in Scripture, will fill our minds and empower our daily lives.
2. Spiritual Fruit-Bearing. “You also have died to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom 7:4). Paul argues that believers are not under the Law of Moses but rather are under the authority of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the New Testament. The goal is for us to “bear fruit for God.”
Fruit is evidence of healthy, vigorous life. Dead things don’t grow and bear fruit. Guided by the Holy Spirit sent by Christ, we should be bearing a bumper crop of “the fruit of the Spirit” which like a cluster of grapes, is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22:23). Does this describe you and me? Following the risen Christ will motivate us beyond good intentions to being really good for something in the Lord’ service.
3. Ready to Meet the Reigning Lord. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess 1:9-10). The risen Christ shall return and take the faithful home to God. The risen, reigning Lord has complete authority over lives. He will sit in judgment of our lives, but His gospel gives us God’s gracious guidance for us to live by faith and obedience to our living Lord.
Each day, a devoted Christian’s life is connected to hope of eternal life. It is possible to “neglect so great a salvation” and “drift away” (Heb 2:1-3); it is possible to “fall from grace” and be lost (Gal 5:4).
So, “obey Jesus and be sprinkled with His blood” (1 Pet 1:2). Then, we can confidently praise God for our new resurrected life: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:3-5).
Praise the Lord that He is the everlasting Victor over the grave and the harbinger of transforming hope. Is Jesus making a daily difference in our life?
— By Frank Walton, GOOD NEWS, Holland’s Gin Church of Christ