Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 1:18 ESV
The word Gospel means GOOD NEWS! This is why the celebration what we today call EASTER, is considered the HIGH POINT in CHRISTENDOM. Resurrection Sunday makes the celebration that we call, CHRISTMAS- the incarnation of the savior Jesus, have such great value and meaning. However, without the suffering, crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, then CHRISTMAS, is nothing more than another Pagan holiday. God spoke through Isaiah the prophet and said, “Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God”. (Isaiah 40:9) God Himself declares again through Isaiah, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns” (Isaiah 52:7). The good news then is good news now; God brings salvation and to Him we owe our gratitude and praise. As a taste and a forerunner of the Messiah to come, Isaiah wrote something that Jesus would declare almost 800 years later, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). When Jesus rose on the 3rd day in fulfillment of the scriptures- this was the GREATEST of the GOOD NEWS!
Leader, words are the building blocks of communication. Understanding words, their meaning, their proper use, and their power can make anyone a powerful communicator and thus have the ability to move people, to lead people and to make a lasting impact on people. My Pastor delivered a powerful GOOD FRIDAY message, and he emphasized 2 words: FOR and INSTEAD. ‘Instead’ is an adverb. You use it when saying that someone does, rather than doing something else. The meaning of INSTEAD is as a substitute or equivalent. In the English language, the word “for” has a double function. It can serve as a preposition, or in some cases, as a conjunction. Prepositions are about PLACEMENT, it is about spatial relationships. The point of my Pastor’s message was that many people have heard and said that Jesus died FOR us! It is called the greatest act of love. He suffered, died, and was buried- FOR US! Love is a verb: For God so LOVED THE WORLD, He did something about it! However, Jesus also died INSTEAD OF US! Jesus took the consequences of sin, the punishment for sin and it was ALL LAID OUT, on the CROSS! This was done IN OUR STEAD! Hear the Word of the Lord: it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Jesus died FOR us and He also died INSTEAD OF US, so that when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ, we are judged for our rewards, NOT for our entry into the KINGDOM. We must remember how important the crucifixion was, and what our LORD endured because it shows you the great value that God has for us! This is why we must REMEMBER the anguish and the pain of our Lord, for He paid a GREAT PRICE! Hear the Word of the LORD: Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” For the first time, the UNITY of the TRINITY was broken. There was separation, INSTEAD of UNITY between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and it was FOR US!
Conduit, if we stopped there it would be a great LOVE STORY, to some on the level of Romeo and Juliet. However, it is the RESURRECTION that makes this truly GOOD NEWS. Because when CHRIST ROSE, He told us we TOO WILL RISE! John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. Daniel 12:2; And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. In today’s scripture we have 1 important conjunction, the word, “BUT”. A conjunction connects words and phrases; and, or, because, for, but…. The word, ‘But’ has a unique effect on the human subconscious. It seems we only remember things that come AFTER the BUT, we tend to forget what comes BEFORE the BUT. JESUS NEVER SINNED, BUT died for sinners to bring us HOME safely. JESUS SUFFERED PHYSICAL DEATH, BUT He was raised to life! He did this FOR US, so we too SHALL RISE! “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) Jesus rose first, FOR all those who put their faith and belief in Him! So INSTEAD of enduring the SECOND DEATH- separation from God for eternity- we will RISE with HIM and receive our rewards in heaven and live forever more in unity with God, and worship the SON in person! JESUS DID IT ALL, HE PAID IT ALL, that is what we celebrate on this RESURRECTION SUNDAY. It is the fulfillment of scripture, and it is good news for those who are willing to humble themselves before the Savior. You can humble yourself, NOW, and TAKE A KNEE at the cross, thanking Jesus for RISING again, and tell Him that you accept His paid price of Calvary so you too WILL RISE again. Or you can humble yourself later, BUT your relationship with God will be as Judge and Judged, INSTEAD of as Father and Son. When you accept that JESUS ROSE, so you too RISE, then you will live out the WORD. Then you will have a PASSION for giving HIM your all! This is why PAUL penned verses like Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31; Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. Remember: “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him”. HE IS RISEN, the TEMPLE IS EMPTY. Jesus is, and was, and is to come! Look up, for our redemption is near! Amen!