Celebrating the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ Jesus

This blogpost is the content of Episode 3 of Season 5 of the Written. Spoken. Podcast, modified for reading. You can hear the episode here.

We are taking a break from the theme of Season 3, “spring cleaning,” to focus on the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, the One who is the Word. The One who was in the Beginning and through whom all things were made.  The One who is the Lamb and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The One who became flesh to redeem us. The One who was a willing sacrifice for our sins and died a brutal, agonizing, substitutionary death in our place and is our High Priest.

We are told in Hebrews 9:11-12, “But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things to come [that is, true spiritual worship], He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not a part of this [material] creation. He went once for all into the Holy Place [the Holy of Holies of heaven, into the presence of God], and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, having obtained and secured eternal redemption [that is, the salvation of all who personally believe in Him as Savior]” (AMP). And 1 Peter 3:18 (AMP) states, “For indeed Christ died for sins once for all, the Just and Righteous for the unjust and unrighteous [the Innocent for the guilty] so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit;” 

I realized several years ago that my celebration of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus did not have the focus, the intentionality as my celebration of His birth. But the truth is, it is the Resurrection of Christ Jesus that gives Christmas its true meaning. As author and podcaster, Lisa Jo Baker, noted years ago, “Christmas makes no sense outside of the context of Easter. Because it was a ransom that was delivered on a dark night, under a stark white star, all those years ago.”

Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 declares,
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (NKJV).

Christ Jesus, the Child who was born and the Son who was given (John 3:16), came to redeem us and our redemption required His brutal death and His glorious Resurrection. We are told in 1 Corinthians 15:14-20 (AMP) that, without His Resurrection, our faith is “vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]” and “worthless and powerless [mere delusion].” Furthermore, “ If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.  But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. “

I pray that the truth of Christ’s Resurrection will permeate our daily living. That we meet every challenge and celebrate every victory with this truth, “But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead …” “Christ has in fact been raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20).

What does the Resurrection of Christ Jesus mean? It is a critical question that each person must answer personally because what we believe about the Resurrection of Christ Jesus changes everything.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians, 15, 3-5, AMP).

When I reflect on what the Resurrection of Christ Jesus means to me, several things come to mind. I will share four of them:
1. The Resurrection means I am redeemed completely and am a dearly beloved child of God.
2. The Resurrection means I am forgiven and His Blood cleanses me from all sin.
3. The Resurrection means I do not have to fear death because He conquered death, hell and the grave.
4. The Resurrection means I have a High Priest.

I find myself dwelling on the fact that I have a High Priest and on all the benefits of this truth, as highlighted in Hebrews 4:14-16 (AMP), “Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].”

The Resurrection of Christ Jesus, is a historical fact with personal meaning. What does His Resurrection mean to you?

“The Gospel is centered in God’s Son, a descendant of David by human genealogy and patently marked out as the Son of God by the power of that Spirit of holiness which raised him to life again from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4, PHILLIPS).

“For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, AMP).

Prayer: Father, may the love of Christ control and compel us, so that our lifestyles reflect the fact that we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised for our sake. In Jesus name.

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Every Step

From the moment of His birth, every step Jesus took brought Him closer to Golgotha and the Cross, where He would willingly pay the incomprehensible cost to redeem you, me, the world. Every step.

The trip to Jerusalem at age 12, where, after searching for Him for three days, Mary and Joseph “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions,” astonishing all who heard Him (Luke 2:41-47, NKJV). To the Jordan River to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). Into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days and forty nights (Matthew 4:1-11).

Every step. By the Sea of Galilee on numerous occasions such as when He called the first disciples (Matthew 4:18-22). Up on a mountain where He taught his disciples many things, including what we know as “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). In Capernaum, where He spoke the word that healed the centurion’s servant and drove the fever from the body of Peter’s mother-in-law with a touch (Matthew 8:5-15).

Every step. To the country of the Gergesenes, where He set two demon-possessed men free (Matthew 8:28-34). To the house of Jairus where He raised his daughter from the dead (Luke 8:41-56).

Every step. Through Samaria and to the Samaritan woman who came to draw water and met the Messiah, the Living Water (John 4). To the tomb of Lazarus where He demonstrated that He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44). Every step.

And every step you and I take moves us closer to the purpose for which God created us, or away from it. Every step. Every choice, every decision matters. May we heed more than ever the instruction in Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP):

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

And with the assurance that He directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9) may we pray like David, the psalmist and king, “Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your word; Do not let any human weakness have power over me [causing me to be separated from You]” (Psalm 119:133, AMP).

As we continue walking through this Holy Week, may we see with fresh eyes, hear with open ears and hearts, and worship.

NB: Versions of this blog post were published on 4/3/17 and 4/2/2021.

Present

You know the gift giving protocol…
You present your best gift to the one being celebrated,
as demonstrated by the wise men who brought Jesus
gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

But this Christmas, you may be asking,  
“What if my best gift is a shattered heart?”
Jesus will take it.

What if it is a mind that cannot stop racing?”
Jesus will take it.

What if it is a crushed spirit?”
Jesus will take it.

For He,
the One whose birth we are celebrating,
welcomes such gifts,
takes them,
and reminds us of the reasons He came:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
(Luke 4:18-19, NKJV).

Come and present all you are
and are not.
Jesus will take you.

/ – /

The Christmas season can be very difficult for many, and especially after the grief, uncertainty, pain, and varied losses of the past 24 months. But Jesus calls us to come as we are and find all we need in Him. Will you accept His invitation?

The original version of this post was published in. 2020.

Saturdays

For Jesus’ disciples, what we now call Good Friday was a horrible, awful day, and the Saturday after, which can be considered the “in-between” day, was not any better. On that day, they woke up to the reality that Jesus was dead. You know how it is… something terrible happens one day, you go to bed, and in the few seconds just after you wake up the following day, all may seem well again … just like a regular day. You may even stretch, then the reality of the loss or whatever made the previous day very difficult, even traumatic, hits you again and you feel the wrenching pain, the loss, the despair as if you are experiencing the loss for the first time.

Good Friday was the worst day of the lives of His disciples and all who loved Jesus, and Saturday must not have been much better.

For us on this side of the Cross, Saturday, the “in-between” day, between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, is different. It is filled with anticipation because we know what they did not know on their “in between” Saturday … We know Sunday, Resurrection Day came! HE AROSE! Yes! Yes! Yes! We anticipate attending church, the anthems of worship and exultation, hearing the Word read once more, celebrating His resurrection with family and/or friends. But, like them, we all have our “Saturdays,” those “in-between” days or seasons when the only thing that looms, dominates our thoughts, is the “Friday,” that is, the loss, the heartbreak, the betrayal, the rejection, whatever devastated us. On our “Saturdays,” we do not know what will happen. We can be unsure if we will survive what we experienced.

On our personal “Saturdays,” it is essential that we remember, it is an “in-between” day or season. Sunday is coming. It always comes for the child of God. Death, whether it is of a person, a dream, a relationship, is never designed by our Father to be our final dwelling place. We really can still say, even with the snot running from our noses, our eyes red from weeping with tears still flowing, through the hiccups and exhaustion, “Sunday is coming. Sunday is coming.”

At first we may only be able to whisper this truth but we need to hear ourselves say it. Even if there is some doubt. We are not being delusional when we do so because our Father has promised “Saturday” is not all there is and will be. Say it as much as you need to until the truth changes your perspective and, if necessary, restores your hope, strengthens your faith. Sunday is coming! As it was for Jesus, there is a resurrection day in store for you.

Note: The original version of this post was first published in 2011.