He is alive! The same Jesus who was beaten, mocked, crushed and killed on Friday is alive. Today marks a new day, the eight day! It marks transformative, resurrection life for all who believe in him. Today, of all days declares that nothing is the same as we walk forward. Jesus is alive!
Walking with Jesus through his final week raised the question we have to answer, what do we make of Jesus? Is he a moral teacher? A spiritual guru? A prophetic type that points us to internalize a new perspective on ourselves? Or is Jesus fundamentally different?
Today is the day that changes it all.
You see if Jesus was just a moral teacher or spiritual leader or just another unsuspecting nice guy who made the wrong people mad then this talk of resurrection makes no sense. If Jesus' life was just about trying to show people how to live better than his death is really over the top. People die. Everybody dies. He did too. If he wanted to just teach us to be sacrificial and kind to others then he could have done it a million other and less violent ways. Children's cartoons demonstrate that on a daily basis.
But if Jesus is more than just a man, and if he came to do more than just show people to have their "best life now", then his death and resurrection is powerful display of something far greater. Crucifixion and resurrection makes sense if Jesus was after far more than moral teaching.
Jesus' resurrection, which we celebrate today, shows us the far greater story. God wasn't just giving us a moral example. He was changing everything.
The curse that was found in our sin and levied by our death, God reversed through the powerful resurrection of his Son. For all who believe we no longer fear death but are given the promise of life again in Christ.
The slavery that we were under to sin was broken by the resurrection of Christ. For all who believe we live in the power of Christ and are gifted the Holy Spirit to move from sinful living to holy living.
The judgement that we await at the last day when we stand before God is no longer a judgement bearing the verdict "guilty and condemned" but is now a judgment of joy. "Well done, good and faithful servant" is what all who believe will hear.
The resurrection changes everything. It gives us a new day, it gives us a new joy, it gives us a new destiny as we walk forward in this life waiting with joy for the life to come. All because Jesus has been raised, really bodily, physically, gloriously raised for us and our justification.
So what should we do? How should we respond? The events of Holy Week call us to consider the clear claims of Christ. There are two roads.
We will see who Jesus is, The Son of God, who came and lived the life we could not live, died the death we deserved, and was raised to life again for our life. And in seeing who Jesus is and what he has done we will repent of our sin and place all our faith in Jesus alone for our salvation. Paul speaks of it like this:
“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9–10, ESV)
The other road is to ignore today, ignore Jesus, ignore his resurrection. Continue walking forward in time as if it was the same old story for you on the same old day. This road leads to death and judgement. It's the road most traveled.
Today is either just another day, like so many before. It might be a good day, it might be a bad day, but nevertheless it is a just another day.
Or, today is the day that changes everything. Today is a new day marked by the resurrection life of Jesus for us. It's a new chapter of faith, hope, love and following Jesus. It's the first day of the New Creation. It's the day of resurrection for all who believe.
So, my friend... will you believe?