The life, death, burial, resurrection, appearance, and ascension of Jesus Christ have significance that appeals to aspects of our lives with the intention of transforming us from broken vessels into whole beings. Wholeness is a life with an awareness of purpose, free from the paralyzing worries, with a hope of a bright and endless future. When one is torn between what he is and who is to become without guidance, the experimentation contributes to the frustration. The effectual work of Jesus Christ in the life of a sinner provides for a continual and progressive change to a state of wholeness. To say that one is a sinner is often the hardest to realize, but here the journey begins. The Bible says in the book of Romans that “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” This verse associates humanity with the practice of sinning and further illustrates the innate nature of man’s rebellion against God. God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ to show us how to live.
The Law was given to present the standard but did not possess the power. Jesus Christ came to contradict their limited and faulty interpretations of the Law. Those who were the professionals in interpreting the Law persisted in challenging what they could not fully understand. To this very day, the greatest challenge to Truth is those that think they know and by profession ought to know. It is not profession but the confession of faith in Jesus that produces spiritual knowledge. It is by faith that we are enabled to understand the mysteries of God.
“The wages of sin is death”– After death there must be a burial, or the person being unattended to in death is devalued. Decay and decomposition due to exposure to the elements, or consumption by beasts of prey further highlights the worthlessness of the body. In order to identify with Christ, our old life must be buried. What we were before Christ must never be on display but rather, buried. After death and burial, God raises the dead from the grave, which is illustrated through water baptism. The body is immersed into a ‘watery grave’, where we are cleansed from dead works and raised in newness of life. We cannot raise ourselves, nor do we possess the power to reanimate what has died. All we were capable of doing was presenting ourselves as living sacrifices. When our surrender is genuine, evidence of death will be present within us. God does this precious work within us. But, the same power that kills is the power that heals! Then the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, will likewise raise us up. We can only be resurrected when death and burial are complete. I am glad that the stench of my old life does not contaminate the newness offered through resurrection!
Appearance could be perceived as either impression or expression. An impressive appearance may occur without a preceding death, “an outward appearance without an inward change”. One of the greatest challenges and problems today is an impressive “Christianity” that is void of death and burial preceding resurrection. What is seen is a mixture of the old religious tenants and a fleshly interpretation that misrepresents truth of a renewed spirit. Those who are not “born again” cannot see nor understand the significance of God’s sovereign rule over every aspect of life. They mislead rather than provide spiritual guidance to others. Jesus appeared to His followers as the resurrected Christ never to die again. The same one who descended also ascended that he might fill all things. The question is, “what kind of body will we have once we are resurrected?” We are promised in 1Corinthians 15:52-54 a body that will be raised incorruptible and immortal. We are further promised that when Jesus appears we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is! As we focus on Easter, let us be mindful of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf– reflecting on His life, death, burial, resurrection, appearance and ascension, looking to the blessed promise of His return and blessed hope of being like Him