RESURRECTION: CELEBRATING THE JOY OF SALVATION
Today we celebrate Easter Sunday, it is the Sunday that the Christian Church has earmarked for commemorating and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This we do in a very real sense on each Sunday of the year. And yet, there is one day each year on which we specially remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ – that He rose from the dead – is truly one of the most historically verifiable facts in all of history.
I would like to set before you three benefits of Jesus’ resurrection from the Gospel according to St. Matthew chapter 28 verses from 1 to 10.
I. Forgiveness for Past Sins
The first benefit of Jesus’ resurrection is forgiveness for past sins. When we think about the resurrection in relation to our sins, we must recognize that it is only because of the resurrection of Jesus can we receive forgiveness for our past sins.
The Bible says that “because of our sins Jesus was handed over to die, and He was raised to life in order to put us right with God” (Romans 4:25)
If we see Jesus as merely dying on the cross and being buried in the tomb, there is no hope and no forgiveness for us. It is His resurrection that gives us the assurance that Jesus has overcome death and won a great victory for his people. It is His resurrection that makes all the difference and puts us right with God.
Jesus had made the claim that He is God. He said that He had come to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He said that He had come so that His people might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). He said that whoever was thirsty (spiritually) could come to Him and be refreshed (John 4:13-14; 6:35; 7:37). He said that whoever would follow Him would never walk in darkness, but would have the light of life (John 8:12). He said that He had come to give eternal life to His people (John 10:28).
But then He was crucified. It was a terrible day. At noon the sun suddenly disappeared and everything became frighteningly dark. There was an earthquake. Events took place that caused even the Roman centurion to exclaim, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
Then Jesus died and His body was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60). The message that rang out to all the world must have been: “Jesus defeated! Jesus defeated!” And all the disciples were gripped by discouragement and defeat.
Three days later on Easter Sunday morning, came the resurrection! Three days after Jesus was buried, He rose physically and bodily from the grave. Then the entire message came through: “Jesus defeated the enemy!” The discouragement of the disciples was banished and they rejoiced at the good news. Jesus had conquered death and hell. Jesus had conquered Satan and sin.
When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, He paid the penalty for sin. When He died, He defeated Satan. On the cross he conquered our enemy. The resurrection was God’s stamp of approval. The resurrection was God saying, “Jesus, I accept your death as a substitute for guilty sinners.” The resurrection was God’s vindication of Jesus’ work, and because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can be confident that Jesus paid the penalty for all the sin of his people. If there was one single sin not covered by the death of Jesus, if there was one single sin for which He did not die, then He would have never been raised from the dead; He would still be in the tomb. But His resurrection proves that His death covers every single sin. And because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can be confident that God forgives us all our sin.
Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
You know there is no other way to heaven except through the risen Lord Jesus Christ. His death paid the penalty for sin. His resurrection proved that God
accepted His death as a sufficient payment for sin. His resurrection guarantees that God will forgive us our sin when we sincerely and wholeheartedly cry out to Him
II. Power for Present Living
The second benefit of Jesus’ resurrection is power for present living. The resurrection of Jesus not only guarantees forgiveness for past sins, it also guarantees power for present daily living. Because Jesus is a living Savior, He is a Savior who is able to empower us to live each day for Him.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (4:13). Because of Jesus’ resurrection the apostle Paul affirmed that he had power for daily living.
Jesus Christ is alive, and He will not only give you eternal life if you will trust Him as your Lord and Savior, but He will also empower you for daily living. And because the tomb is empty, we can not only receive forgiveness of sins, but also the power to help us in our daily lives.
Listen to how the author of the epistle to the Hebrews put it: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Jesus is alive, and so He is able to help us in our time of need.
Jesus’ resurrection guarantees power for daily living. No matter what difficulty, no matter what trial, no matter what the hardship, Jesus empowers His people for daily living so that they can say with the apostle Paul, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
III. Hope for Future Destiny
Finally, the third benefit of Jesus’ resurrection is hope for the future. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, we would have no hope for the future. But because He is alive, we do have hope. We know that all that He said is true.
The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “By his power God raised Jesus from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14). What a magnificent promise that is! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead will one day raise believers back to life as well.
Jesus said to His disciples (in John 14:1-2) just before He was crucified, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
Right now Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for every single Christian. He is preparing a place only for those who trust in Him with a real, live, vital faith. And one day those of us who wholeheartedly believe in Jesus will die and go and live with Him in heaven for all eternity. This is the hope that the resurrection gives to those of us who know Jesus Christ personally as Lord and Savior. We will be raised back to life and we will find ourselves at home with Jesus in heaven for all eternity. <
Rev. Pradeep George