The church has just celebrated Easter, undoubtedly the most important event in the Christian calendar. Easter services in churches are filled all over the world. Social media is alive with photos and comments of the amazing messages preached, lives saved and Easter productions that took place. But in it all I hope that we as believers can fully comprehend the real significance of Easter and understand all that Jesus actually did for us. Beyond the historical event that Easter celebrates is the spiritual reality that it represents and the powerful truth that we now have access to because of what Jesus did for us!
Jesus was crucified, buried, rose and ascended into heaven. When He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God His Holy Spirit descended upon us. These are the five most powerful events in human history and each reveal an aspect of Christ and what he has restored to our lives.
The Bible clearly tells us that these are not merely historical events that took place in the life of a person called Jesus. These are not only part of history but also life changing points of access for the believer who can not only celebrate the event, but also experience the reality of the transforming power that each of these events achieved.
He was crucified
The suffering Christ won for us our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:17) We now not only have forgiveness but in Him we live in that forgiveness. He has given us access back to the presence of God because we have been forgiven. Just as important as our forgiveness is the fact that we now have the power to forgive! Our forgiveness and our ability to forgive others sets us free from shame and guilt and lays a platform for healthy relationships in our lives.
He was buried
The victorious Christ went to hell, not in defeat but in complete victory. In fact, He preached defeat to the spirits of darkness. (1Peter 3:18-20) His burial is our victory. In Christ, we now have victory over sin and death. This victory extends to the areas of our life that attempt to defeat our soul. The enemies of fear, anxiety and depression just to name a few.
He rose from the dead
Through the risen Christ we now have new life. Not only are we forgiven, not only do we have victory over our old life but we have a new life. In Romans 6:4-11 we identify with Christ in his crucifixion but now also in his resurrection. This life is the life of Christ. He is the second Adam. The blueprint of a new species. We are new creations formed in the image of God. We now live out and discover that image in a process of transformation and we are changed from glory to glory. So not only do are we set free from an old life we are given a brand new, resurrected life.
He ascended into heaven
The heavenly Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23) is seated on the right hand of the throne of God and He has all authority. One of the most amazing verses later in the writings of Paul informs us that now we too are seated with Christ in Heavenly places. The same measure of authority has been restored to us in Christ!
The Bible says that we were in Christ at the crucifixion, and we are now in Christ in his resurrection and that we are now seated with Christ at the right hand of the throne of God.
This means the believer not only has forgiveness, victory and a new life but also authority. The authority of the believer is often not understood for many Christians. We are able to pray from a position of authority…the victory has already been won. So instead of praying for an issue in your life we can also speak to that issue! Jesus never prayed for the sick per se! He healed the sick. We are now seated with Christ.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us
The empowering Christ, because unless Jesus left us, our Helper couldn’t have come. We now have power to live the Christian life because the Holy Spirit came to us. We have the power to persevere and to be a witness of Christ’s love.
As much as each of these things Jesus did for us can stand alone as a significant truth and reality in our lives, the real impact of all five things he did is seen once we see it as a whole, and once we see the bigger picture of what he was opening up for us the church.
In the five things Jesus did we now have forgiveness, victory, new life, authority and power…amazing! But if we look at what they mean together, what they are cumulatively, then it begins to have even more significance.
Because in receiving forgiveness we see the suffering Christ. In victory we see the victorious Christ. In new life we have the risen Christ. In authority we see the heavenly Christ and in power we see the empowering Christ. But for the Church, it is all these five things functioning together in believer’s lives. And it is the cumulative impact of all five that create what the Church is and should be.
This is what it looks like:
It is all these five things that make up what the body of Christ is in the world. But even further than that, it is the impact of what the body of Christ is to the world that is ultimatelythe point of it all. So it looks something like this:
The ascension of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit must lead to the extension of the church. If the church does not extend into the world, into the needs of the community, into the lives of people, into the injustices in the earth, then the event of Easter is at best not understood and at worst, completely irrelevant to the purposes of God on the earth. Beyond a celebration of Christian history, it is a reminder of the impact Jesus has made in our lives and the impact we now make in the world!