Larry Sheehy-042411Listen to Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy - Human history's 2 biggest events
What do you think about when you consider Jesus' resurrection? Perhaps, like me, you most often reflect on his victory over death, and the fact that his victory makes it possible for us to win over death as well.
Without a doubt, these thoughts are wonderful. But there is more! I want to suggest three of the many blessings made possible by Jesus' resurrection.
First, the destruction of the devil and the power of death.
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews, discussing the importance of Jesus first coming to earth in the flesh, said that he did it "so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Jesus' death destroyed the devil - that is, it defeated him - because it took away the single greatest weapon the devil has in his war against the family of man. The fear of death is common to all men because it occupies a place of darkness in our minds. Do you remember David's "valley of the shadow of death"? (Psalm 23) It holds unredeemed men in the slavery of a joyless and fearful existence. This may be why some are willing to pay fortunes for the possibility of extending their lives as long as possible, even gambling on the revival of life by means of future technology.
But Jesus' victory over death fulfilled the promise of God to the devil that he would be dealt a death blow by the savior of the world. (Genesis 3.15)
Second, the resurrection of Jesus is confirmation of the greatest blessing of God to man - the truth that Jesus died for our sins. Paul wrote, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." (1Cor 15:3)
In his opening remarks in the Roman letter the apostle Paul wrote that Jesus "was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:4) His death, made possible by the love of both the Father and his Son, paid for our sins and made it possible for us to live with them forever in heaven.
By his grace, and through faithful acceptance of his gift, the children of God are saved from the eternal consequences of our disobedience.
The third blessing: his resurrection from the dead gave him new life, the model for the lives Christians are to live in him.
This truth is taught so eloquently by Paul at Romans 6:3-4. "...all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
Because of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection - the historical facts of the gospel - those willing to obey his commands can - must - live a new kind of life.
Remember, the two most certain facts we can image are: (1) Jesus is alive and (2) he is coming back to take us home with him.
Also remember that the two most important events in human history are: (1) Jesus' death and (2) his resurrection.