“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” (1 Cor.15:55)
Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, but also rose physically from death as proof that God had truly accepted His sacrifice.
JESUS WAS OUR HEAVENLY HIGH PRIEST, A MEDIATOR OF A SUPERIOR COVENANT.
When Jesus, after having risen from the dead on the 3rd day, went up to Heaven, He presented before God A MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE THAT SUPERSEDED THE AARONIC SACRIFICE ON EARTH. HE SAT AT THE RIGHT OF GOD AND WAS GIVEN THE NAME ABOVE EVERY OTHER NAME.
No other event has impacted the world so much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (Rick Warren)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and the very heart of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, faith in Christ would be meaningless. The resurrection was even foretold hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth in Psalm 16:9-10.
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul reasoned,
“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. We are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead.”
In that same chapter he says
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen sleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” But then Paul triumphantly declares, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:14-20).
Martha said to Jesus if you had been here my brother (Lazarus) would not have died.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3)
THE GREATEST EVENT IN HISTORY
I hope you gain the sense from these verses that it is upon the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that the whole Christian message and hope rests.
And for those of us who are Christians, if ever we are asked the question “Is there anything that could be described as the greatest event in history?” You could say without a shadow of doubt, indeed there is!, and the greatest thing in history is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ some 2000 years ago! Therefore the greatest moment in history is the very moment when Jesus rose from the dead!
It was the great culmination of God making Himself known to us that He alone is the Alfa and the Omega – the beginning and the end. He himself is the unlimited, the all sufficient El Shaddai who is in control of everything.
THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AFTER DEATH
Now resurrection is the subject that we are talking about and resurrection is the great hope and destiny of every Christian. When we deal with this great matter of resurrection, we are of course touching a subject that has fascinated the minds of men and woman since time began. In fact we are actually talking about the mysterious subject of life after death. And the Bible talks about this subject very seriously and realistically in terms of resurrection.
Resurrection does not mean that I will or I can take this body – this actual body of mine into the world that is to come. But it does teach us that the body that I shall have then will be a body that will be very wonderfully and intimately related to this present body which I have now.
The great Christian belief and hope of resurrection in a nutshell is this, that just as Jesus Christ was raised from the death in a body of glory so our lowly bodies will be transformed and made like unto His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).
Therefore since God organises matter in a variety of ways there is no reason to doubt that it is beyond His powers to raise to eternal life the body that is sown in corruption.
“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”(1 Cor 15:54-55)
As we inherit our natural life from Adam so we receive our spiritual life from Christ. As we have born the image of the earthly so we shall bear the image of the heavenly. You cannot figure out how God does all this, it’s beyond our capacity to comprehend. God made the whole world from nothing. He is an omnipotent God. What may be seen as impossible and ridiculous to the human mind is possible to God. God’s power underlies Jesus’ resurrection. If He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead.
Meanwhile, I want to draw your attention very quickly to 1 Cor15: 20, it says in verse 20, “but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
THE BEAUTY OF A CHRISTIAN’S DEATH
What is so beautiful about a Christian’s death? Well of course anyone would ask for that matter, is there anything in the world that is so beautiful about death? You might perhaps say death is the ugliest, most solemn and depressing thing that you could ever think of.
Yet this verse says about the Christian’s death is just like falling asleep in the arms of Jesus. Christ has become the first fruits of those who sleep. And the figure of sleep is used constantly in the New Testament to portray the death of those who belong to Jesus Christ. Death is harmless to the people of God. For those who are in Christ, the happiness of heaven commences immediately after death.
WHEN TIME SHALL BE NO MORE
“Life is so fragile. You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14)
You know what? The only thing that we are certain of in this life is the approaching death for each one of us – the inevitability of death so to speak. All the rest of the concerns that are related to our lives hang with uncertainty. But our approaching death is a very very certain and definite thing that no one can escape from it. A moment lies ahead for each one of us when time shall cease and no longer available and a step into eternity will take place. What is on the other side of time? Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25); “I AM the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Unfortunately, it is the certainty of this approaching death that brings so much of fear and depression to the minds of many people. I suppose most people do not like to think of this death as a reality and therefore we continue and continue to pretend that our lives will never end.
But you and I who are in Christ can be certain of our destiny and be sure of what is on the other side. When death departs us from this world, we will immediately go to be with Christ. The figure is no less beautiful that after the toils of life have ended we shall fall asleep in the arms of Jesus.
The question is are you prepared to meet your Maker—for we can be called away to our eternal home anytime (Hebrews 9:27).
WHAT IS OUR HOPE
It is a wonderful thing to realise and know that Jesus Christ actually rose on the very day of the Jewish feast of first fruits. That was the day when the Jewish people brought the first sheep of harvest into the temple and offered them before God. Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead that very day.
And our passage says that Jesus is the first fruits of His people and the promise is that just as certainly as Jesus rose from the dead, so His people in the moment of resurrection shall also rise from the dead and they shall be like Him and they shall be with Him for ever.
In this chapter in 1 Cor.15, Paul does not actually explain to us the nature of the resurrection body, not in complete detail however. But he does teach us the wonderful lesson that God is able to do whatever He chooses to do. And therefore God will give to those who belong to Jesus Christ a changed and a resurrected body so that they shall be with Christ and they shall rejoice in Him forever.
Right down towards the end of the passage. It tells us perhaps the most wonderful truth in the New Testament that there is moment coming when Jesus will return. It is that moment when He returns that those who are asleep shall be called from the grave . They shall be changed in a moment and they shall rise and meet Christ in the air.
But the generation of Christians who are alive when Christ returns they will not die and in a moment they will be changed and caught up with Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
THE BEGINNING OF A CHRISTIAN’S DESTINY
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the beginning of our destiny. And our destiny is entirely bound up with Christ and His resurrection and His coming again.
Jesus said at a moment that He is least expected He will return again. And those of us who are around and sensitive to the things that are happening can see already the signs and symptoms pointing towards our Lord’s return.
I hope those of you who truly belong to Christ will be tremendously encouraged by this message. I trust this will give you renewed hope and encouragement to live for Christ. I hope whatever the future holds for you whether living or dying you have a calm and settled faith and that you will be able to glorify God both in this life and the life to come.
CHRIST INDEED IS OUR HOPE AND ASSURANCE
But what I have said is true only to those who have surrendered their lives to Christ and are walking in fellowship with Him. However there are a great number of people unfortunately, who do not belong to Christ and therefore do not share in this great hope and destiny of Christians.
Jesus Christ is alive, and His life is the essence of our relationship and experience right now.
As Christians, we take comfort in the fact that our God became man, died for our sins, and was resurrected the third day. The grave could not hold Him. Death could not overcome Him. Sin could not defeat Him. He lives, and He sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for you and me.
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” (Rom. 14:11)
WISHING YOU A BLESSED EASTER. GOD BLESS YOU RICHLY
Note: Rev Dr Jai Kumar is an ordained & licensed minister of Covenant Ministries International N.J. USA. He is a mission minded pastor who carries an apostolic anointing who preaches and teaches an uncompromising gospel with boldness. A member of ECCM (Malaysia) Spiritual Adviser & overseer to various ministries and churches. An itinerant speaker. He is also the author of a book entitled, ‘God’s Time Clock.’ Currently he worships at C3 Subang.
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Rev Dr Jai Kumar