The foundation of Christian faith is this, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (I Thessalonians 4:14) But stop and think about this for a minute. How absurd does this really sound? You actually believe that Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, was buried…but 3 days later rose from that grave alive? How delusional can you be? And if you do truly believe this “fairy-tale”, you must be living in a fantasy-world! But this is exactly how the world views the Gospel Message…some far-fetched implausible story. Except, within this story is something that all of mankind is constantly searching for… peace, hope, and freedom from guilt and shame. For the resurrection of Christ is the basis of our hope as Believers, and it is only by our faith that we are set free from the penalty of sin and death.
Here Simon Peter was boldly speaking to the gathered crowd of curious onlookers on the Day of Pentecost. But what was the reason for his fearless and passionate speech?…he had seen the Lord. For it tells us in Luke 24:36 that the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples. They touched Him, ate with Him, and were never the same after witnessing the once lifeless body of their Lord now alive. You can travel around the world and visit the tombs of other great religious leaders…but there is only one that is unoccupied…the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.
It could have been me doubting the unbelievable story the women were recounting about the empty tomb, the angels, and their words – “He is Risen!” Now we usually just give the apostle Thomas the bad rap of doubting the resurrection…but in Luke 24: 9-11 it tells us that when the women came back from the empty tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others…but no one believed them, for their words seemed like nonsense. How many times had Jesus told the apostles about what was to happen? How He must suffer, die, and then be raised from the dead three days later. Still they did not believe it when it really happened. Yes, I could have easily been among those doubters when the words, “He is risen!” echoed across that room.
What does it mean to you to be born again? Maybe it’s been a long time since you even thought about it, especially if you’ve been a Believer for years. When you said “Yes” to Jesus, you underwent spiritual rebirth. What was once corruptible became incorruptible, and passed from death unto life. When we are born again, all is made new…for by God’s great mercy and the sacrificial blood of Christ, we are saved from our sins. To be born again means we are truly a new person standing before God…righteous and blameless in His sight.
It asks in Psalm 24:4, “Who may stand in His Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol.” To stand in the presence of the most Holy God is a place of reverence, but also refuge. It’s a place of refreshment, rejoicing and reflection. But it’s also a place of rebuilding and reconciliation. Spend some time today in the Lord’s presence to fully experience His love, peace and perspective.
To know the Lord Jesus Christ…is to live for Him. And in knowing Him…we will become more and more like Him, for we conform ourselves to His image. Knowing the Lord though is a life long journey of dying daily to our old self and deliberately becoming more like Him. But in the end, when people look at us, they won’t see us…they’ll only see Jesus.
We all will face death some day. Our fleeting life will succumb with our last breath…our earthly body will become an empty shell of what we once were. But what is buried to decay, will be raised immortal…what goes down in shame, will come up in honor, authority, and holiness.
The first Adam sinned, and by his actions all humanity was sentenced to death and eternal separation from God. The second Adam came to earth to make atonement for that sin. Jesus Christ was born…walked this earth as any other man…was crucified…died and was buried…but rose three days later…taking the sins of the world upon himself. The resurrection of Jesus – the second Adam – made a way for all mankind to again have intimate fellowship with their Heavenly Father.