We can’t leave Easter week before a real heartfelt day of thanksgiving for the wonderful truth of the resurrection. A truth that is ours to revel and rejoice in because Jesus didn’t just die for us, He also rose from the dead for us. Paul was very intent that the young church in Corinth be grounded in this as a foundational truth, and in 1Corinthians 15:3-8 he lists all the resurrection appearances of Jesus before His ascension.
He is then at pains to let the Corinthians know that they too will experience resurrection. He says ‘the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality……. Death has been swallowed up in victory’, 1 Corinthians 15:53. This is truly something to be thankful for because physical death is really the only certainty in our life, and for many people what happens after death is a great source of uncertainty, speculation and fear.
The writer to the Hebrews tackles this head on when he writes that Jesus is ‘now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone’, He shared our humanity ‘so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.’ Hebrews 2: 9,14,15.
This is just so amazing and something we should celebrate more than we do. Because we are alive in Him, because we have a new life in Him and spiritually we have already been raised with Him to be seated in the heavenly realm, (Ephesians 2:5-6), our spirit that has now been made alive, will never die. I love the line in that song* which says ‘Everything I am for your Kingdom’s cause, as I walk from earth into eternity’. No fear of death here!!!
That is what we are all doing now. Because of the resurrection, we are not going to just get old or sick and then fade out. We are all in fact, right now, on a journey walking from earth into eternity and as we embrace this truth, thanking Him that there is resurrection after death, the Lord sets us free from the fear of death. Death is now our doorway into heaven. He defeated death in His own body and He has already given us His resurrection life, so eternal life began for us with our rebirth.
There is however another reason to thank the Lord for the whole principal of death and resurrection and that is because the fear of death doesn’t just affect us when we think of physical death. We can be afraid of many other kinds of death. Things like the death of our reputation, of a relationship, a job, my financial security, the death of my dream or even my ministry. The principal of death is something that weaves itself through the whole of life, and the fear of those important things ‘dying’ on us can rob us of much joy and peace.
Jesus told us ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’, John 12:24. How often do we need to let something die (surrender it) in order to find that the Lord gives it back to us in a very glorified form. Abraham found that to be true very literally when he was asked to physically sacrifice his son, but his faith was strong and the Lord did indeed provide, and blessed him abundantly, Genesis 22 1-18.
Whether we are asked by God, like Abraham, to let something dear to us ‘die’, or whether the circumstances of life and other people in our lives cause something important to us to die, we can still thank the Lord that, because He is with us and in us, there will be a resurrection that will bear much fruit. It may be different to what we wanted but it will be good. So let our thanksgiving, break the fear of death in all its forms, and let us rejoice that with Jesus there is always a resurrection.
*‘I see the King of Glory’, Brooke Fraser, Hillsong 2006