Scripture Reading: John 14:6
Verse to Memorize: 1 Corinthians 15:20
Reference: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Goal: understanding the meaning of resurrection and living with hope for resurrection
Jesus left all heavenly glory behind and came to the earth in flesh to save all mankind. He was born in a stable and lived in poverty during His life. In the end, He was scourged, wore the thorny crown, and was crucified miserably. Although He was blameless and spotless, He was despised and mocked by men and died on the cross. All this was done to redeem us from our sins.
Thanks to His love that is preeminent over justice, the way leading all men to salvation was opened wide. Christians participate in His suffering by offering up fasting with love and thanks for Jesus’ crucifixion during the Passion Week. But because Jesus was sinless, He overcame death on the third day after His burial and resurrected. On Easter Sunday, we, in heart, commemorate the resurrection of Jesus who was raised from the dead and engrave its spiritual meaning in our hearts again. I hope by doing so you will be filled with hope for resurrection, eternal life, and Heaven.
1. Resurrection stands for ‘True Life’
Sinners are destined to die according to the spiritual law as written in Romans 6:23 that says, “The wages of sin is death.” All men on the earth are born as descendants of Adam who committed sin, and they commit sins in their lives. It is just as said in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Since all men were sinners, no man could solve the problem of sin.
But Jesus came to the earth and saved mankind who was doomed to death. To redeem us from our sins, He died on the cross that symbolizes a curse. However, He overcame death on the third day after the burial and resurrected because He had no sin at all. By this, He became the first fruits of resurrection.
Anyone who believes it and accepts Jesus as their personal Savior can avoid the death that comes through sins and gain eternal life. It is as written in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” But many people don’t even consider the problem of sin and death they face. They just think there is nothing that follows after they die. They don’t acknowledge the afterlife.
Sinners will meet with death of their body, which is death in fleshly sense. But that is not the end of their life. When they finish their lives on the earth not only will their fleshly body die, but they will also be faced with spiritual death which means the sufferings in Hell. This death was all that once awaited everyone. But the Lord gave true life to us that made it possible for us to enjoy everlasting life. We could have nothing to do with death and live in Heaven forever.
Of course, many saved people ended their lives on the earth and died. But the Bible calls their death ‘sleep’. 1 Corinthians 15:20 reads, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” Here, ‘those who are asleep’ are the ones who believed the Lord while they lived on the earth and passed away.
When the Lord comes in the air, those who are asleep will be resurrected before those who meet the Lord alive. As we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first,” the dead body will be raised a spiritual body and it will be united with their spirit that will come from Heaven.
The following verse 17 reads, “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” That is, those who are alive without having experienced death will be caught up into the air and their bodies will be transformed into imperishable spiritual bodies.
2. Resurrection stands for ‘True Love’
Jesus took the cross to save men who were bound to die and to give them eternal life and Heaven. He loved them not just with words from lips but also in deeds. He gave everything to them. The Lord demonstrated us His love through His death and resurrection. ‘Death’ comes as the wages of sin, but because He was entirely sinless the Lord couldn’t remain bound by death and finally He resurrected.
Therefore, the resurrection of the Lord proves that He loved us such that He died on behalf of us who were sinners though He had no sin whatsoever. His resurrection also shows the great love of God the Father.
Committing sin of disobedience, Adam turned his back on the love of God. As a result, he became a man of flesh who can’t help but die in accordance with the spiritual law, and his descendants all became sinners so there was no other way but death for them.
In order to address the problem of sin, God prepared Jesus before the ages. When His designated time came, God sent His only begotten Son Jesus whom He loved so much to the earth and let Him die by the hands of sinners. God loved men such that He solved the sin problem by sacrificing His own Son even though they committed sins.
What is the reason why God planned the providence of salvation in the cross? This is because He wanted to gain true children who can share His glory and love together forever and ever. He preplanned all things in a bid to give Heaven and eternal life to them and to share true love with them, and He sent His only begotten Son to the earth when the time came, and accomplished the providence of the cross and resurrection, which clearly displayed His love towards men.
This true love is still revealed even now although around 2,000 years has passed since the resurrection. It is the true love manifested by God the Holy Spirit. When we accept the Lord who was crucified and resurrected the Holy Spirit came into our hearts. Then, our spirits that were dead are revived by the Spirit. And by the help of the Spirit we will become qualified to be God’s children when we live according to the Word of God.
The greatest love in the world is the love with which we can die on others’ behalf. Jesus demonstrated such great love by dying on the cross for us who were nothing but sinners. Also, He confirmed again that His love is true by overcoming death and resurrecting.
3. Resurrection stands for ‘True Faith’
Jesus believed that God would achieve the providence of salvation through crucifixion. He obeyed the will of God joyfully and fulfilled it by taking the cross. Jesus sometimes had to suffer from ungrounded persecutions and be put under the threat of life. While bearing the cross, He was left alone and forsaken by God. This is because He had to take all sins of men and carry the cross as if He were a sinner. But Jesus completely trusted God even in the last moment of death on the cross. He believed that He would be resurrected after the crucifixion and that God would let Him enjoy great glory.
If we fully, completely and uncompromisingly trust God just as Jesus did, we can live in faith without attachment to the worldly things. ‘To put complete trust in God’ means believing that God will let us be resurrected and give us Heaven. Those who have true faith don’t set hope on the earth where they are staying just for a while. They don’t love the worldly things that are perishable. They cast away sins every day and try to become sanctified because they have hope for Heaven. They are faithful for the kingdom of God to the point of death even in any kind of sufferings, and their faithfulness is unchangeable.
I hope you will put strong belief in God who will let you experience the resurrection of life and have hope for the glory that will be given to you on the day of resurrection although you are faced with sufferings and persecutions. If you suffer hardship, though you have not committed any transgression, God will bless you through the suffering. Isaiah 49:15-16 reads, “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me”.
God can’t forget His children, even those who are distanced from God and He inscribes them on the palms of His hands. I hope that you will imprint the great love of God and the love of the Lord on the cross in your heart and enjoy overflowing joy of resurrection.