“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1Pet.1:3)
Resurrection presumes there has been a death, not the other way around. In this life, resurrection is not a given, but if one has experienced a resurrection, you can be dead sure a death preceded it! I made this seemingly unnecessary observation in order to make another that is profoundly necessary. It’s not the death of Jesus Christ that is the touchstone of His life, and the hallmark of our Faith; it’s His resurrection from the dead. His perfect sacrifice would have been to no avail if that mortally wounded Body had remained in the grave. “And if Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1Cor. 15:17). If Jesus Christ had not come forth from Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb, His death would have been of no more consequence than that of the two thieves who were crucified on either side of Him.
But here’s the thrust of my message of hope for us today: The Resurrection is not only the deciding in eternal life to come, it is the deciding factor in our Christian life today.
“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live,” testifies Paul in Galatians 2:20. And in Romans 6:4, “…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” I ask you, what good is being “dead to sin,” if you’re not “alive unto God” (Rom. 6:11)? Nothing manifested the power of God more than when He allowed His Son—Eternal Life in flesh—to succumb to the dominion of Death, only to snatch Him from its jaws before that Holy One could see corruption (Psl. 16:10 & Acts 13:35). No wonder Paul says He was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom.1: 4).
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is “a lively hope,” says Peter. It’s all about living, before and after this body is laid in the grave. The power that raised Jesus from the grave will do the same with mine (1 Cor. 6:14). As the old Puritan, Thomas Watson, once said, “We’re more sure of rising from our graves than our beds!” But this power does not lie dormant within me till that day; it’s a living hope, ready to spring to my aid as I endeavor to live for God in a wicked and perverse world. And by the grace of God, I intend to use it!
The only thing that keeps Good Friday from being “Bad Friday” is Resurrection Sunday!