By enduring the cross, Jesus became the offering and atonement for the sins of the world. Through His resurrection, Jesus granted humanity new life in the spirit of God. It is this spiritual life that grants all those who receive Him a new nature, free from sin. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples. Leaving them with specific instructions, Jesus left the earth, ascending to heaven and taking His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is declared as the first fruits of those who shall be raised from the dead. He has gone before all of creation, and made a way for all to receive salvation. It is in Him that we experience death to self, and new life. It is also in Him that we receive the reward of righteousness. Jesus has been exalted in heaven; He has been declared in heir and child of God. Just as we are in Him in death and resurrection, we also receive this reward in Him. Romans declares that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that “we are children of God, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” We have been seated with Christ in heavenly places. Our inheritance is heaven.
Jesus’ position in heaven is one of true spiritual authority and power. In Him, those that accept Jesus Christ are granted access to this power and authority in our own lives. A Christian is no longer powerless in the waves of life. We have been granted true spiritual authority over every situation. We have access to the throne of God, and access to a name that is above every other name. At the name of Jesus, every spiritual force must bow. May you grow in spiritual maturity, and may you exercise the authority and power of Jesus Christ in every situation, bringing glory to God.
John 3:1-8, Romans 6:8-10
Jesus often confounded religious thinking. In John chapter three, Jesus declares to Nicodemus the Pharisee, “You must be born again.” It was a statement that encapsulates humanity’s need for a savior. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, human flesh has carried an inherent nature of sin. All humans were born of the flesh, and born with this sin nature. Jesus explains that in order to see the kingdom of God, we must be born a second time. By dying, we would no longer be held by a sin nature, and by being born again, we live again as a people who are spiritually alive to God. It was this second birth that Jesus would accomplish on Easter Sunday.
Jesus paved the way for us to be free from sin by dying on the cross as payment for the sins of the world. All those who accept Him die to sin with Him on the cross. Jesus’ ministry was not fulfilled just at the crucifixion, but also in His resurrection. When Jesus rose from the dead, he overcame death for us, and made a way for humanity to rise again to new life in the spirit. By accepting Jesus, we not only die to sin, but are made alive again, this time not born of flesh, but born of the Spirit of God. We live in Jesus Christ. We no longer act according to a fleshly nature, fulfilling the passions of the flesh, but live according to the Holy Spirit, producing His fruit. This fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Human bodies waste away and die, but those that are born of the Spirit live forever. Through Jesus’ death we die to sin forever, and through His resurrection we are made alive again in communion and fellowship with God, listening and obeying His Holy Spirit. Today may you understand the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and may you live out this new spiritual life, free from sin and fully alive to God.
Jesus’ death on the cross coincided with signs and wonders. While Jesus was on the cross, darkness fell on the land. At his death, the earth shook, rocks split open, the veil of the temple was torn, and the dead rose out of their graves and appeared to people in Jerusalem. These events on earth displayed the true gravity of what was taking place in the spiritual world.
Jesus died as a substitute for humanity. The sin of the world was put upon Him, and He received the punishment for that sin at the cross. Only Jesus was qualified to do this. Every human has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, sin had reigned over the human heart. We were slaves to sin. The punishment for sin is death. By coming to earth as a man, and living a sinless life, Jesus was the only human who was free from punishment. He died as payment for humanity. By laying down His life for us, Jesus -the only holy human- became the perfect substitute. To all who accept Jesus Christ, our old self is crucified with Christ. We have died to sin. We are no longer slaves to sinful desires and passions. Those who believe and are baptized are baptized into Jesus’ death. It is a death to the old self; a death to sin and a lifestyle of sin. It is through this death that we are set free from sin. It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus that the believer’s life is made completely new. Maturity in Christ includes a greater realization of the freedom that comes from Jesus’ death and a recognition that we have died to sin and sinful desires. Today, may you fully realize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in your own life, and may you be totally set free from the slavery of sin.
Matthew 16:24-25, John 12:24-26
Throughout Jesus’ instruction to His disciples, He consistently foreshadows what He must endure to fulfill His ministry. In order for humanity to be saved from their sins and be reconciled to God, Jesus had to endure torture and death. His execution would be one of pain and humiliation. To be hung on a cross was to be made a public example; a living and dying warning sign. It was a death of dishonor. Prisoners were made to carry the cross they would be hung on up the hill to Calvary, where they would be nailed to it. When the cross was stood upright, they would die through suffocation or organ failure. It is in this context that Jesus declares that to be one of His followers, ‘let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
Jesus was giving the invitation to public humiliation and death. It was the invitation to Calvary. Jesus then explained that whoever sought to save his own life would lose it; in John he says whoever loves his life loses it. Whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. The journey of following Jesus starts with a denial of self. It is a surrendering of our own life, our own reputation, to serve Jesus. Our own life is made to carry a cross, and to die, so that we might find new life in Him. Jesus asks the question, ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ The world strives after earthly riches and success. It desires the praise and honor of the crowd. None of these things can save the soul. It is only through choosing Jesus, and denying ourselves of these worldly pursuits, that we find eternal life. It is in this crucifixion of the carnal desires that we begin to serve Jesus. Through this death to self, we become more like Jesus, and begin to bear spiritual fruit in our lives. As we deny ourselves and serve Jesus, God the Father honors us. Today, may you follow Jesus to Calvary by denying yourself, serving Him, and may He use you to produce spiritual fruit, and in the end, attain eternal life!