Jesus’ death and resurrection give us hope beyond this world. They remind us that this life is temporary and so are the trials and suffering that come with it.
April 8 was Easter Sunday, a day of celebration and thanksgiving for Christians across the globe. In his sermon on Sunday, our Pastor focused his message on 1 Corinthians 15:1-26. St. Paul the Apostle is speaking to the Corinthians about the resurrection of the dead, which many flatly denied. Paul understands that the doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation of Christianity and that removing it causes all our hopes for eternity to sink.
I had never really thought of it in quite that way. Growing up in the Catholic tradition, my siblings and I were immersed in faith. We attended Catholic school. We attended Mass every Sunday. We grew up knowing the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. It was part of our upbringing we carried into adulthood. We then introduced it to our own children and raised them in the same manner, though not all of us in the Catholic church. Regardless, we are all believers and practice our Christianity faithfully.
Sitting in church on Sunday, a thought occurred to me. If I was asked by a non-believer about my faith and why I believe in eternal life, how would I answer them? It was at that moment I realized I’d probably have a hard time. Not because I’m not confident in my faith, but rather, because I’d have a hard time putting it into words. There are just too many reasons. Too many instances when I have felt God’s hand in my life. When I have felt the overwhelming presence of Christ.
As I continued to listen to the message, the answer was revealed. The resurrection of Christ is both an end and the beginning for all Christians. Everything Jesus was, everything He said, everything He did was leading to that moment. As 1 Timothy 1:15 states, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” His life taught us how to live, but it was His death and resurrection that saved us. Specifically, it is the resurrection of Christ that solidifies our faith in eternity as Christians.
It is the power of the resurrection that proclaims Jesus is the Son of God. It is the resurrection that assures us when we put our faith in Christ and follow His teachings, eternal life awaits. Finally, it is the power of the resurrection that gives us hope.
Christ is the Son of God.
On the cross, Jesus was mocked. If He truly was who He said He was, then surely He had the power to save Himself. Yet, Christ chose to demonstrate His power in a different way. The power He chose was love.
Through His death and resurrection, He conquered all enemies and destroyed all dominions, even death itself. His sacrifice paved the way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life with the Father. That is love in its purest form, unconditional, abiding, and everlasting.
Eternal life awaits all who believe in and follow Christ.
Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save us. The Gospel of John 8:1-11 reminds us that we have a responsibility for our salvation. After the crowd had dispersed following Jesus’ directive that, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone,” He turned to the woman who’d been brought to Him for judgment and asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” To which she replied, “No one, sir.” “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
First, Jesus saved the woman from being stoned to death by an angry crowd simply by stating, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Not one of them could. Like the people in that crowd, we are all sinners, and Jesus’ quiet statement reminds us of that. Second, just like the condemned woman, we are all worth saving. Jesus’ death and resurrection remind us of that. But, also like the woman, once we have been saved, we must leave our lives of sin and follow Him. That is the command we’re called to follow when we accept Christ as our Savior.
The resurrection gives us hope.
Without the power of the resurrection, we have nothing. “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
Jesus’ death and resurrection give us hope beyond this world. They remind us that this life is temporary and so are the trials and suffering that come with it. The resurrection tore down every wall separating us from God’s peace, freeing us from the despair of this world and opening the way for us into the world to come.
The moment we accept Jesus into our hearts, our eternity begins and our lives are transformed. We are no longer constrained by the chains of this world. Instead, we are free.
JN Fenwick (© 2023) | mothjournal14