The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (5) - Saturday, March 31st

The Life of Christ – Culmination of Suffering and Triumph (5) - Saturday, March 31st

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:1-20

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Yesterday we presented a bit of a theology of the cross that included a lot of additional Scripture. The cross and the resurrection are inseparable and so today we present a theology of the resurrection with additional Scripture that flows out of yesterday’s considerations.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:50-55

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

In review from yesterday: Jesus died for the sins of the world. The judgment of sin due to all of us was placed on Him. The judgment of sin is death and death is separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body. And spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God. Jesus experienced both of these for us. When the sins of the world were placed on Jesus during His crucifixion on the cross, He was separated from the Father. This is why Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And then after He said “It is finished” and as recorded, “gave up His spirit,” His double dying was completed.

Through His resurrection Jesus overcame His own death and secured victory over physical death for the rest of us, but in addition, His resurrection validated that His crucifixion truly did secure victory over spiritual death for all of us as well. So, God has secured that which in the end will be a wondrous outcome for all who are willing to embrace His eternal provision. By conquering spiritual death as our substitute Jesus opened the door for us to be restored to the full communion with God which He created us to enjoy in the first place. He also opened the door for us to something else very special. In a different kind of way Jesus was also our substitute in physical death. Jesus had to experience physical death in order to conquer it. He died physically and was raised from the dead on our behalf.

This is what the resurrection is all about. Jesus became the first fruits. Someday we will be resurrected to enjoy perfect bodies that we will inhabit forever. We will truly experience victory over physical death because of what Jesus did on our behalf on that first Easter morning.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39

Who is Jesus? He is our substitute who died, was buried, and rose again on our behalf because of the problem of separation of the spirit from the body in physical death and the problem of separation of the spirit from God in spiritual death. Does Christ’s substitution make all the difference? Absolutely! We are alive for evermore. We rest in the security that we have been freed from sin’s consequence of death for all eternity. What a blessed reality: the absolute security that forever nothing can separate us from the love of Christ who indeed died for us and indeed was raised for us. Halleujah! Truly, the life of Christ is everything for everybody!

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I rejoice in your amazing plan and your amazing provision. Your grace is overwhelming. Thank you for coming to earth, Jesus, and carrying out your mission. From your birth to your ascension, you did everything to restore us fully to all you had in mind for us when you created us. Thank you that I am now a full beneficiary of your death and resurrection. Thank you that I have been recreated for your glory and honor. Amen!

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