As we come to Easter Monday, we turn to our last reflection on why Jesus came to Earth. The last reason we are going to explore is for Christ to rise from the dead.
My son loves the book, the Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross. It’s a beautiful book both the way it is drawn and the way it is written (and you can get it at a fabulous local bookstore my mother in law just so happens to manage). When it gets to the part where Jesus dies on the cross, it remarks that Jesus had always planned to die and then says, “what a strange plan!” It is a strange plan from a human standpoint if you don’t have resurrection. If a person dies, they are unable to carry out their mission afterwards. But Jesus isn’t going to stay dead. He is going to rise again!
Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave as some sort of stunt or mere teaching moment. When Jesus steps out of the grave, a cosmic victory is won in that death is defeated. Death always held those it took, save one! Jesus has made death not permanent anymore! Resurrection is now guaranteed if you are in Christ. Jesus defeats death and is the way for us to defeat death, too! That should change absolutely everything!
Have you ever had a super crazy day packed with meetings and then suddenly have your longest meeting canceled? In a moment, you are granted hours of time, and now so many more things are possible in that day! What freedom! In fact, you may even feel a tinge of regret spending time preparing for that meeting now that priorities can shift!
If that is the difference that a few hours freed up can make, how much more should the knowledge that death isn’t permanent change how you live the rest of your life? There is life after death! And Jesus says that it is eternal life (John 3:16)! You will spend infinitely more time on the other side of death than this side. Does this not change what your priorities will be? Suddenly, life doesn’t have to be about making as much money as possible, or having the biggest house, or our kids getting into the best schools. There is more to life than what we see or what the world tells us to prioritize. Now it is about how God wants us to use our money, houses, and kids. This is not your only life anymore if you are in Christ.
The resurrection also gives a different view to the sad things in life as well. Dear friend, your troubles will not be present forever. You will be raised to new life one day if you have put your faith and trust in Jesus, but your troubles will not. Sickness, disability, and family disfunctionality will not be raised to new life. That should change how you look at your suffering. It is in fact not eternal. You will not be dealing with this forever even if you deal with it the rest of your earthly life here. Those troubles will end, those tears will stop, that pain will cease when Christ comes to call you home.
All of these hopes and changes in perspective only happen if Christ rose from the dead, which He did. And that is why He came.