The very basis of Christianity is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over 2000 years ago, God sent His Son to die for us. We were deep, deep in sin and the penalty for our sins was death. In other words, we were all going to die (eternally). But Jesus came to earth and He took our place. He died our death and He gives eternal life to as many who believe in Him. (John 3:16)
From Genesis to Revelations, the entire Bible points to one Person and one moment: Jesus Christ, His death, His burial & resurrection. The significance of this is a finished work. Nothing to add, nothing to remove.
Formerly, we were striving to attain our salvation-which of course is impossible-but through Christ’s resurrection, we received salvation by grace through faith in what He did. Sacrificing animals to pay for our sins was a very cumbersome process. In fact, the blood of animals wasn’t enough to atone for our sins (Hebrews 10:4). It was just God’s make-shift arrangement for us till the actual sacrifice was done. Jesus gave Himself up for us, to atone and cleanse away completely, our sins. And this is what makes us confident enough to say we are new creatures in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
But our story of salvation doesn’t end at Jesus’ death. Don’t join those who “joke” that Jesus faked His death or fainted. This “joke” is nothing but sabotage of what we believe. Jesus actually died and He was buried, for three days. This means that His resurrection was not a hoax or a scheme to deceive people. It is this testimony of His resurrection that gives us the assurance that we have life eternal. Apostle Paul used the whole of 1 Corinthians 15 to explain this.
“By this gospel, you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4 NIV)
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a Man” (1 Corinthians 15: 17-21 NIV)
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-15 NIV)
Apostle Paul said this to remind the believers not to undermine the significance of the “resurrection.” Christ’s sacrifice would have seemed more like defeat if it ended at His death. But glory to God who through the Holy Spirit, raised Him to life and gave us the victory.
God so meticulously went through with this salvation plan that Jesus could not be allowed to die by any other means. Many times, the Pharisees and Scribes tried to kill Jesus. Once, they plotted to push Him down a very high place to kill Him but their plans failed. Except one…His death on the cross -the way God wanted it.
Deuteronomy 21:23 says “cursed is any man who hangs on a tree”. Jesus had to hang on that tree, to carry all the curses that were to be on us for sinning and breaking the law. He redeemed us from curses and gave us blessings in exchange, he redeemed us from death and gave us His life in return. But these things can’t be accessed without believing in them. (John 3:16; Galatians 3:13)
And this is the gospel: that we need not worry about death, sin, and its penalty. That all our sins of the past, present, and future have been atoned for. That we no longer have to worry about curses and the unfulfillable law. That we have victory over sin, death, and the grave. That we would be raised to life and live eternally. What can be better than this? (Hebrews 9:15; Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 2:14)
For all those who believe this good news, it is not just Jesus who went through these things. Jesus never went alone to the cross. From the cross to the resurrection, we went through it with Him, by our faith. Scripture makes us understand we are partakers of His suffering. Essentially, we were beaten with Christ, crucified with Christ, died in the flesh with Him, and were raised to life in the spirit with Him as well. And since we have shared in that suffering, we know we would share in His glory as well. Little wonder why Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…all because of His journey to the cross. (1 Peter 4:13; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:12-13; Romans 6:5-8)
If you think that the effect of salvation only covers life after earth, then you are misinformed. The eternal life that we have received by grace through faith as a result of Christ’s death does not start after we leave earth. It starts from the moment we believe…eternal life starts from Earth! Likewise, we are not waiting for our victory when we stand before the gates of heaven. Jesus’ resurrection gave us victory that we could live in as soon as we believed. Jesus’s sacrifice is empowerment for both life on earth and life eternal.
I think we should remind ourselves of the powerful message of Easter more often. Remembering the death and resurrection of our Saviour should not be limited to a few days in April alone. Every day should be a day to remember God’s love, Jesus’s victory, and our salvation.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it” (John 3:16-17).
The word of God is clear. Salvation is only available to those who believe. If you would like to accept this offer of salvation please say this prayer: “Dear God, I thank you for your love for me. I thank you for giving up your only begotten Son for me. I thank you for His blood that ransomed me. I believe in His death, burial and resurrection and today, I accept your offer of salvation…in Jesus name.” Amen.
Congratulations, you are now saved! (If you said this prayer, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
P.s: Take a few minutes to appreciate Jesus for enduring so much pain, torment and shame for your sake. “Our sins were great but His love was greater”.