We asked a small group of fellow Adventists to think about the resurrection. What lessons are there still to be learned? What inspiration can still be found from this story? How does this miracle move lives today? Their answers are as diverse as they are. But in each reflection, aspects of Christ’s sacrifice and victory for us give us new meaning and renewed hope for tomorrow and all that is to come. We hope you enjoy reading. –Editors
In a lonely, windswept country cemetery on a hill overlooking the wheat fields around Ritzville, Washington, my mother awaits the resurrecting call of Jesus. Her simple gravestone is surrounded by the grave markers of my grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as myriad cousins, uncles, and aunts. There is a space there for my dad, now 100 years old and looking forward every day to seeing Jesus return in triumphal glory.
Sometimes I sit alone in that isolated place, contemplating not only my own mortality but also what it will be like to see those graves rent open, to hear the voice of my Saviour calling His own to Himself, to feel the earth shake at His majestic approach. O, what a day that will be!
This week at our small group gathering we studied the biblical teaching on death. When we talked about Genesis 2:7, Jasmine, a young adult new believer, expressed wonder that the life of finite humanity would be sustained by the very breath of God Himself. Her face lit up with joy at the thought! Seeing her delight at the idea of one day seeing the One with whom she shared something as intimate as breath rekindled joy in my own heart. One day God will restore His breath of life to my own mother, to friends who sleep in Jesus.
My dear friend Loree took the ubiquitous DNA test recently and wonder of wonders—connected with her biological family. What a wonderful day when she met her half- siblings for the first time! They took her in with open hearts and arms. Loree can’t stop talking about her great fortune to be welcomed into her family with such warmth and love.
What will it be like to meet God’s resurrected family face to face? I can’t wait to know!
All through the Old Testament we are taught about the cleansing power of the blood. The sacrifice of the animal illustrates the way to atonement for sin.
The prophecy of the Messiah provided hope to the people of Israel. Finally the Deliverer would come, and His people would be saved. But the plan designed by God to bring the Messiah to the people was much deeper than providing a new king to rule the earth. It was more necessary than deliverance from hardship and struggles. God sent His son to die as a martyr. Our iniquities required this blood sacrifice to cleanse the sins of the world. So the stage is set.
We learned that Jesus’ blood cleanses us from sin and that Jesus was sent to die. It’s a great story of love, probably the greatest love story of all. This is why we learned the stories of the animal sacrifices, so we would learn how Jesus would die and save the world. But praise God, that is not the end of the story. Jesus defies the grave and rises from the tomb. He dies as the Son of man and rises as the Son of God. This breaks the mold of the old sacrifice stories and proves Jesus was who He said He was.
The resurrection means everything to the Christian story. This is the proof that He is not just the sacrificial lamb or the martyr, but indeed the Messiah, the Saviour. He tells us He is going to prepare a place for us in heaven, where His Father has many mansions; then He leaves and goes there. He Himself will be the one coming back to receive us and welcome us to heaven.
The Crucifixion is an incredible story of Jesus and a cross and blood and death. The resurrection of Jesus verifies that He had the authority to die for all our sins and the power to return to His throne as our king.
If you are waiting in the potluck line to get your paper bowl of apple pie and some sweet sister appears from nowhere with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to put on top of your pie, that’s fantastic. The resurrection is way beyond ice cream on apple pie. The pie was good and sweet on its own, but the ice cream was the encore. Jesus who rose is coming again for me. That’s way beyond encore. I serve a risen Savior.
One aspect of the resurrection is very dear to my heart: since Jesus is no longer in the tomb, He can stand as my advocate before God. Paul wrote, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34). I came to appreciate this wonderful privilege after an incident with my son several years ago when he was wrongly accused and arrested. Seeing my “baby” standing before this stern-looking judge in juvenile court, with handcuffs and shackles on his wrists and ankles like a common criminal, nearly broke my heart. He looked so scared and small in that large courtroom.
In a crisis, I’m the type of person who jumps in and works to solve the problem myself. In this situation I did what I could, but I quickly realized that this was way outside my skill set. Except for sending earnest prayers to his Advocate in heaven (1 John 2:1), there was nothing else we could do but work diligently with our attorney to clear up this mess. I praise God that my son’s name and record were soon cleared! The relief and gratitude that flooded over us when it was all over is indescribable.
Whereas my son was innocent, I stand before God as guilty and worthy of the death sentence. When the “accuser of the brethren” calls me out, unfortunately, he has ample evidence to back up his charges. But because Jesus is no longer in the tomb and is interceding in the courts of heaven, He who knows my heart can defend me, pleading His own blood on my behalf.
Jesus shed His blood on Calvary to pay for my sin. Because of the resurrection I’m not standing alone before the Judge of the universe under the weight of my guilt, pleading my own case. Jesus stands with me before God—and He wins every time. Because He is in heaven, my name and record are cleared and I am forgiven.
—Debra Banks Cuadro
I grew up in a church and family that didn’t talk much about the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was just another Bible story. The Seventh-day Adventist church I grew up in didn’t place much weight on Easter. I don’t even remember the word being said, unless it was associated with bunnies and chocolate eggs. Honestly, I didn’t think of it as having a religious connotation at all. To me, being a Christian meant following the Ten Commandments and going to heaven—if I was good enough. I never thought I was quite good enough and always was uneasy about salvation until I learned about grace.
A teacher taught me the acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It was confusing, even hard to believe at first. Was it really possible to receive something as important as eternal life by doing nothing? How could this be? I had to put the whole story of Jesus together. He came as a baby, grew up, and His love for people consistently transcended any condemnation or rule making. To be saved, He told us to just believe in Him. Then He died, sacrificing His life for ours. We couldn’t have saved ourselves: we aren’t, and never will be, good enough. In His death Jesus smothers all our imperfections, to show us as flawless and whole. That death and His resurrection proved that He was/is the Son of God. His resurrection is everything to Christianity. It demonstrates the gift of life that God made available to each of us. We do
n’t have to reach for it, work for it, or earn it—we just have to believe and accept it. The death and resurrection of Christ make me sure of my salvation, without any doubt. When I think of the resurrection, I feel peace. I think that’s worth a celebration.