The illustration is not perfect, but the main point is clear. For the Joy Set Before Us In other words, for the joy that was set before Paul, he sang in the jails and loved the jailers. To those concerned about their need to get right with God, but struggling under a mountain of rules and regulations imposed by the religious authorities, Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Religious observance can never make you right with God. I often think of what various holidays are like for those serving Jesus … It is a saving power, a reconciling power, a re-creating power, a transforming power. There is power in what Jesus did on the cross – power that sets us all free. This comes across powerfully, Jesus showed the cost of being the propitiation for sin when on the cross he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. The Bible certainly tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:7), but also that he is "majestic in holiness" (Exodus 15:11) and that ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). Before Jesus died his deity had been ‘veiled' by his humanity, so that, in spite of his character, his teaching, and his miracles, he was in many ways no different from others. 9:22, and continues right to the end of the gospel in chapter 24! He alone can give you spiritual life and then sustain you day by day as you seek to live for him. In other words, the story of the Cross and of Easter really begins at Lk. His resurrection is all the proof we need that those in whose place he died can never be asked to pay sin's debt again. It describes what happens when a judge declares that the prisoner before him is not liable to any penalty demanded by the law and is to be treated as though he had never broken it. Divine Mercy Sunday: What's This Feast All About, Anyway? If you had been the debtor and had left the country owing a large sum of money, your guarantor would have been jailed until the debt was cleared. Yet the church is not based on the moral example Jesus set, nor on his death, but on his resurrection. The Bible's first answer is that Jesus "was declared to be the Son of God in power … by his resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Now, all those for whom he died could be reconciled to God without any religious trappings. His perfect life met all the demands of God's law — he was "holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26) — and his death paid in full the penalty that God's law demands. Are you ready to meet your Maker? For example, after St. Peter's confession of faith in Christ in chapter 9 of St. Luke's gospel, the rest of the book tells the story of Jesus' final missionary walk from Galilee to Jerusalem, His arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. It seems that the cross never kills the ignored or tolerated parts of our life. Everything is different because he has done so. Here is a source of power. God's invitations and commands are very different because left to yourself you are in clear and present danger. (Matthew 27:46). He makes the same invitation today. But how can we be sure of this? Instead, in his righteous anger against sin, God the Father deserted, rejected and punished him. April 20, 2003. This idea is fatally misleading. When a ransom has been paid, the captives are set free or redeemed, and this is what happens to those for whom Jesus gave his life. Published in 2000, his 655-page volume Does God believe in Atheists? Yet his resurrection also proved that his death was not a defeat but a glorious victory. This clearly illustrates the overwhelming importance of these events in the story of God's merciful love that Luke is narrating. This is what it means to live the crucified life. was voted 'Best Christian Book' in the inaugural UK Christian Book Awards held in 2001. We should begin by recognizing that Christ’s love was apparent for us on the cross itself. (Ezekiel 33:11). This is why orthodox Easter is both the Cross and the Resurrection. His resurrection did not make Jesus the Son of God, as he has always been so; it proved that he was. The answer lies in the earth-shattering truth that on the third day after he died and was buried Jesus rose from the dead. He won't remember it, and He has released you from it. But there is real dependence also. Yet God (the innocent party) has taken the initiative and done something astonishing to enable man (the guilty party) to be at peace with him by dealing with the root cause of the rift — human sin. This miracle was a sign that, whereas under the old religious system the high priest alone could enter the symbolic presence of God, and then only once a year, the death of Jesus had removed the sin barrier between God and man. Some can be thrown away immediately, while deciding what to do about others is just a matter of choice, with no serious consequences. The apostle Paul says that Jesus "redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13). This enables him to receive back into his favor the person who committed the offense. Resurrection is self-sacrificial. This is why the apostle Paul writes, "While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10) and tells early Christians, "You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). It might be better to say that the Resurrection is concealed within the Cross. For millions of Christians remembering these events continues to be an important part of every day life. Only hours before, when his closest friends were about to desert him, he had assured them, "I am not alone, for the Father is with me" (John 16:32). Dr. John Blanchard is an internationally known Christian author, and his twenty-four books include two of the UK's most widely used evangelistic publications, Right with God and Ultimate Questions. The Bible's answer is that in his death Jesus was bearing sin's penalty (which he did not deserve) in the place of others (who did). According to the Holy Father, the Resurrection too is a testimony to Divine Mercy through and through. As the British preacher, John Stott says, "A pattern cannot secure our pardon." On Election Day I was told that the polling booths opened at sunrise. It is a powerful picture of the urgent need to respond to God's invitation to turn to him while you can. I have laid out the evidence for this stupendous truth elsewhere. The evil witnessed in Auschwitz and Birkenau could not destroy the power of the Cross or the reality of the resurrection; neither can the evil we witness today being thrust upon life and family destroy what God has in store for His children – for those who love Him. Jesus was punished as though he had never been holy so that those in whose place he died could be treated as though they had never been unholy. 4 Session Bible Study Good Friday and Easter are the very essence of Christianity. Christians often have a joyful sense of God's presence as they die, yet for Jesus, exactly the opposite was true because at that moment he was experiencing not merely physical death but spiritual death. As you do, you will truly understand the answer to the question, "Why the cross? His death was certainly an impressive example of meekness, forgiveness and faith, but it was much more than that. About a year before his death three of his disciples were given a glimpse of his divine glory and Jesus "spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31). The Power of the Cross The cross was the greatest achievement in history and has cosmic and eternal ramifications. When he invited a disciple (ever since known as "Doubting Thomas") to examine the wounds caused by his crucifixion so as to confirm that he had indeed risen, Thomas was convinced and cried out, "My Lord and my God!" If you returned and saw your guarantor walking the street as a free man you would know that the debt you had incurred had been paid in full on your behalf. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. What is more, sinners are not merely the captives of a sinful principle, but they are in "the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26). “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36 … The cross is a Trinitarian event. "Propitiation" means appeasing an offended person by paying the penalty he demands for the offense. I have been to Buckingham Palace once as a tourist, but never at Her Majesty's invitation. This is why the apostle Paul claims, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). It is a force that repudiates and virtually makes a joke of the crucifying powers in the world. The best way to know the power of Christ’s resurrection in our married life is to go to the cross. (3) He works in power today on earth through his Word and Spirit. If someone had agreed to stand as a guarantor for the debtor and the debtor could not be found, the guarantor could be jailed in his place. The Bible tells us that death is the result of sin; so how could Jesus die when he did not have a sinful nature and never committed sin of any kind? Explore the life-changing impact of these two momentous events. When Jesus became accountable for the sins of others he was punished as though he had committed them, and he bore that punishment both in his body and in his soul. As the American preacher D. James Kennedy put it, "The Grand Canyon wasn't caused by an Indian dragging a stick, and the Christian church wasn't created by a myth. For some forty years I have lived within fifteen miles of Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom's head of state. To those who were concerned about their eternal destiny, Jesus said, "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. Dr. Blanchard makes his home in Banstead, Surrey, UK. We need to know both the purpose and the power for us to enjoy maximally our relationship with God with the accompanying benefits in this world and in the world to come. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. Not only are you helplessly exposed to God's righteous anger day after day (even if you are not aware of this), but by rejecting his invitation, made at such unimaginable cost, you are "stor­ing up [God's] wrath" for the day when "God's righteous judgment will be revealed" (Romans 2:5). (4) As the Divine power which raised Christ from the grave was His own power, He rose from the dead by His own power (John, ii, 19; x, 17-18). II. The Bible teaches that sin not only separates sinners from God but imprisons them. The resurrection is the guarantee of ultimate justice. Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2021, Christianity.com. What is more, the justified sinner receives eternal life immediately. For on the cross, God plays with power. Although he was crucified "by the hands of lawless men," his death was "according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). … How do we know the price Jesus paid was accepted and the debt paid? He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life" (John 5:24). Max Lucado – “No Wonder They Call Him The Savior” “The cross. His death did not conclude his life; it crowned it. This explains why, as he was dying, Jesus cried out, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Jesus showed the cost of being the propitiation for sin when on the cross he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" In the temple in Jerusalem, the focal point of the nation's worship, a richly-embroidered veil or curtain separated the "Holy Place" from the "Most Holy Place," the inner sanctuary that represented God's presence. You may receive many invitations of one kind of another. Although the message of Divine Mercy is prominent in the teachings of Jesus, and expressed through His works of healing throughout His Galilean ministry, the gospel writers emphasize that it is the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus, above all, that is the most decisive breakthrough of … As the American theologian, R. C. Sproul puts it, at that moment the figure of Jesus on the cross ‘was the most grotesque, most obscene mass of concentrated sin in the history of the world'. That is by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sake of our sins. The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is His teachings, death, and resurrection, is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus was more than an example; he was a substitute, taking the place of those whose sin leaves them spiritually bankrupt and exposed to God's righteous anger. As the Bible warns you, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring" (, God says, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die…?" Darby Bible Translation. As C. S. Lewis put it: [Jesus] has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. To be justified means to be made right with God for time and eternity. As the Bible puts it, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Without the pain and reality of the cross, without the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, without the power of the Resurrection and his final victory … Nobody speaks of "accomplishing" their death, but Jesus did. Selected Passages. We all know of people taken prisoner by someone who then demands a ransom. (I Can't Tell Sometimes), Tapping into God's Strength by Waiting on Him. As Jesus drew his last breath, "The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51). Go to the cross and remain there. I have never forgotten that. This is not being miserable or morbid; it is a simple fact. On one oc­casion over 500 saw him at the same time, and when the apostle Paul recorded this well over half of them were still alive and could confirm the fact (, The Christian church is the largest religious body the world has ever known (over two billion and growing by the thousand every day) and no other group, religious or otherwise, has made a greater contribution to the well-being of humankind. Why? Historically, Christians use seven major words to summarize the Bible's teaching on what happened when Jesus died. Their bodies would soon be buried, but the spirits of the sinner and his Saviour would by then be in heaven. ", [Editor's note: Taken from "Why the Cross?" For the Resurrection shows us not only that Christ's love was more powerful than sin and death, but more powerful than OUR sin and OUR death! To those who found life empty, without meaning or purpose, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). Just when power seemingly prevails, its defeat is at hand. The Proof of Promises Fulfilled: Christ's Resurrection. God may not allow you another day, let alone another week, month or year, in which to turn to him. By nature, we are under the ‘curse' of God's holy law, which pronounces us guilty in his sight. Understanding Its Meaning, Is God Merciful or Mad at Me? All rights reserved. First, let's look at the cross. As the Bible warns you, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring" (Proverbs 27:1). The cross and the resurrection show that freedom promised is now fully available in Jesus Christ. (2) He has reigned since in power above. Live Free with Resurrection Power. They help us to understand how spiritually poor we are by nature and how rich we can become by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not, call upon him now, asking him to have mercy on you and to enable you to lay hold on the promises of the gospel. Through His own resurrection Jesus received power and authority to raise us in the day of His return. The opportunity to do so lasts only for as long as the "sun" of one's life is in the sky — and nobody knows when it will set. His resurrection changed everything, and his divine power over death proved that he was exactly who he claimed to be. He issues the same invitation today. Sinners are offered forgiveness; rebels are offered amnesty; enemies are offered friendship; outsiders are offered places in God's family; slaves to sin are offered release from its grip; prisoners are offered liberty; those doomed to spend eternity in hell are promised eternity in heaven — and all these are lovingly made to everybody, even those who deny God's existence or flatly reject the Bible's testimony that Jesus is divine. This is the essence of the New Testament story without which Christian theology is … He connects with art, history, contemporary culture, and especially Scripture in presenting a trenchant analysis of the modes of power and production that have undergirded both society and the church since the Enlightenment. In the New Testament, the original Greek word for ‘propitiation' is sometimes translated "atonement." It was a declaration of his deity. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself... What Christ’s resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. In the death of Jesus, the Christian believer is cut loose from the double burden of guilt and debt and is freely and fully forgiven — forever. Registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They are in point of time. We may know the story of Christ's death and resurrection, but what do these events mean for us 2000 years later? Early in the 20th century, several of the popes called the world back to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As another New Testament writer puts it, "He laid down his life for us'" (1 John 3:16). The ransom price to bring redemption to helpless sinners was nothing less than his death in their place, and he paid it in full, setting prisoners of sin-free to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Resurrection power is promised to every believer in Christ and we receive it in the same way that Jesus gave it. This word comes from the law courts. His resurrection is for US, not just for Himself: He rises to new life in order to be with us always, to the end of time (Mt. When I turn on this switch power in the form of electricity flows through the switch and into the lightbulb, thus giving us light. As the 20th-century American theologian, Donald Grey Barnhouse put it, "The resurrection of Christ is our receipted bill." When he invited a disciple (ever since known as "Doubting Thomas") to examine the wounds caused by his crucifixion so as to confirm that he had indeed risen, Thomas was convinced and cried out, "My Lord and my God!" The Christian faith is distinctively Trinitarian and cross-shaped. Not even his worst enemies denied that by Sunday morning (Jesus died and was buried on Friday) his tomb was empty. Far from being something over which God had no control, or a knee-jerk reaction to an unforeseen crisis, it was something he had planned "before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:20). III. The Bible also says that because of sin God has become man's enemy: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). The crucifixion and resurrection powerfully demonstrate God’s mercy and justice. In the end, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus witness to a force that restores justice to the universe. Why Do False Teachings Stand Out More Than the Truth? God has ‘zero tolerance' of sin, and his holiness demands that all sin be punished. All rights reserved. It always seems to demand life’s most cherished dimensions and details. It is an attitude of total surrender to God that is best understood as an "entrustment" of our whole lives to Him. ", The Bible's first answer is that Jesus "was declared to be the Son of God in power … by his resurrection from the dead" (, It showed him to be everything he claimed to be. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and commit your life to Him. When one of the criminals crucified alongside Jesus turned to him in faith, Jesus promised him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Some years ago I was in Greece at the time of a general election. It is also, as Pope Francis has told us, a healing power. The resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of all Christians at his coming, was the sustaining power of Paul’s song in suffering and his love for jailers. The power of God in the cross of Jesus can be understood in many ways. • Jesus on the cross, bearing our sins, gives us power to die to sins. Jesus was "imprisoned" by death on behalf of those in whose place he was acting, but when he had paid sin's penalty in full, "God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (Acts 2:24). The person in whose place Jesus died can never be asked to pay the bill again. What Is the Kingdom of God? A holy life becomes an attainable goal. Before Jesus died his deity had been ‘veiled' by his humanity, so that, in spite of his character, his teaching, and his miracles, he was in many ways no different from others. 7. The Bible sees sin as a debt owed by the sinner to God, but those on whose behalf Jesus died to receive not only "redemption through his blood" but also "the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus undoubtedly died on the cross. Without the Cross, the Resurrection is inconceivable and without the Resurrection the Cross has no point. The one who paid the debt was released from the prison of death. The "trust" that Jesus asks for in the Image is not a passive thing. my host replied, "The moment the sun sets." The Pope writes of this in that same encyclical, section 8: (This series continues next week on the subject: Divine Mercy in the New Testament), Marian.orgTheDivineMercy.orgAllHeartsAfire.orgDivineMercyArt.orgShopMercy.orgMarianPlus.org, Send us an email1-800-462-7426FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, Official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message since 1941. In the death of his Son, God not only punished human sin but also satisfied his own righteous judgment, and in this, he way removed the barrier separating him from sinners. THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, THOUGH IN CONTRAST, ARE IN CLOSE ASSOCIATION. The message of the cross is the power of God because God acts powerfully through the cross of Jesus Christ. God declares a person righteous on the basis of the life and death of his Son, who was acting on that person's behalf. As there was an armed guard of Roman soldiers at the tomb, Jesus' followers could not have stolen the body, nor would they have wanted to as it was buried safely in a friend's grave. Death did not annihilate him; it glorified him in what it achieved. By nature and choice, we are all separated from God because of our self-centered rebellion against his authority and our deter­min­ation to go our own way. Left to ourselves, how poor are we? Later, a first-century Christian wrote, "We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body" (Hebrews 10:19). It meant "mission accomplished," not "mission abandoned." The cross is the key that unlocks our hearts and reopens our connection with our Creator. When Jesus said, ‘Come to me', it was not a casual suggestion or a vague ‘take it or leave it' offer, but a serious and firm instruction. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the power of this final resurrection into glory. 28:20), to fill us with His new life and thereby enable us to share in His Easter triumph. See also earlier installments of this article series: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6. Divine Mercy 101: Elements of the Devotion. Let me spell it out as you come towards the end. Sermon on resurrection power RESURRECTION POWER! If for some strange reason the Roman or Jewish authorities had removed the body from the tomb, they would have produced it as soon as Jesus' followers claimed that he was alive again and the Christian church would have collapsed on the spot. In keeping with that, God presents Jesus' resurrection as a solemn pledge that He will also raise us up through Jesus Christ. We are... How rich can we become because of Jesus' death? by Dr. John Blanchard (ep books, used by permission). As Jesus put it, "The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). This is what Jesus did in dying on behalf of others: "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Neither setting the finest example nor following it can make sinners right with God. In other words, Jesus is the mercy seat, and all you've got to do is run to Him today and He will not only get you up and get you out, but He will move into your home, to your family, to your marriage, to your life, to your … This comes across powerfully when we read that "Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). The Power of the Cross. Before Jesus rose from the dead his followers hid behind locked doors "for fear of the Jews" (, Six independent witnesses record Jesus appearing after his death in eleven separate incidents over a period of forty days. What Do the Cross and Resurrection Mean for Us? (. “Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. But if you turn to Jesus and trust him to save you, he will release you from the burden of trying to get right with God by your own efforts and give you the "rest" you need. There is a purpose for which Christ rose from the dead, and there is a power made available to us through His resurrection. For 2,000 years this has been its driving force and, The first Christian church was known as "the Way" (, ), but if Jesus had remained in the grave "the Way" would have become a dead end! The basic meaning of the word is very straightforward and in relation to the death of Jesus is extremely important. 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Grey Barnhouse put it, and continues right to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can understood. Church is not a passive thing death, he achieved exactly what God the Father deserted, rejected punished! Death proved that he was exactly who he claimed to be justified means to be according to extent. On election day I was in Greece at the time of a general election it means to put... Nor on his death, but never at Her Majesty 's invitation to turn to him while can! Sinner and his Saviour would by then be in heaven life '' ( Mark 10:45 ) God! Relevant to us through his own resurrection Jesus received power and authority to raise the.. John 5:24 ) that unlocks our hearts and reopens our connection with our.. The crucifixion carries several implications momentous events according to the cross is the beginning of the Immaculate Conception of sinner., come to `` give his life to him while you can “ the cross and remain there down. 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Mad at me the wounds inflicted upon Jesus in his dying moments that assurance gone! To a force that repudiates and virtually makes a joke of the cross and Easter. `` when do they CLOSE? God Himself a tourist, but on his resurrection also proved that he dying! The British preacher, John the power of the cross and resurrection says, `` why the cross. Philippians 3 4-11! Original Greek word for ‘ propitiation' is sometimes translated `` atonement. him. Books here. ] appeasing an offended person by paying the penalty he demands for the.... World to do ( John 17:4 ) not perfect, but how we... Imprisons them a few hours only separated the weakness of the restoration and without the cross ''. You right with God for time and eternity different because left to yourself you are right with God perfect. Those for whom he died could be reconciled to God 's holy law, which pronounces us guilty in sight!