Change is in the air, so here we are again. Easter, the most wonderful time of the year for a believer, is coming soon. In fact, Paul says that without the resurrection, we are of all people most to be pitied. But, since Jesus rose from the dead, everything is amazingly changed; there is great hope!
So, it just a happy ending to a story? No, it is so much more than that. The resurrection changes everything—past, present, and future! Here are three examples of why it’s such a big deal that the stone was rolled away:
1. It changes the significance of the cross (past)
Many people have died on a cross. It is a horrible form of death, but even Jesus had two others on crosses beside him when he was crucified. What made his cross death different? Well, we know that a lot happened in the cross that was not physically evident.
The work that Jesus did on the cross was effectively stamped “approved” by the physical and visible resurrection that followed. Death is not merely ignored but it is defeated in the resurrection. As a result of the cross, we received gifts such as atonement, propitiation, and penal substitution. As a result of the cross, the final story is not death (not even the death of Jesus) but life!
In Romans 4:25, Paul says that the cross was because of our sins, and the resurrection brings us life in Christ. Our sins are paid for in full and we are justified (or made righteous) by Jesus’s sacrifice. Thus, the cross sets the stage for the defeat of evil. And the resurrection gives life back to those for whom Christ died.
2. It changes the power of sin and evil (present)
God wins and evil loses. And while it was never a fair battle—God does not struggle to overcome evil—it does feel like evil is the winning force sometimes. Haven’t you struggled with the power of evil, even as a believer?
So, what difference does the cross make? Well, it gives us resurrection power over sin as we battle evil in our own lives (Rom. 6:1-4). We are risen with Christ, so have all we need to overcome the power of evil today. The taunt of the prophets and Paul is, “O death where is your sting.” The sting of death is sin, and we are no longer under sin (1 Cor. 15:56). We are victorious because Jesus has changed the final story of humanity. Evil and sin lose. For the redeemed, Jesus and resurrection win. I encourage you to both recognize and experience that resurrection power today as you present yourself to God as one who is alive in him (Rom. 6:13).
3. Change for the finality of death (future)
Death was the ultimate weapon of evil, until the resurrection. When Jesus came back to life, evil’s best weapon was defeated. While some rulers think death is the ultimate weapon, amassing armies with weapons to defeat others, they are greatly mistaken. Death no longer has the final word.
Those of us who have experienced the loss of loved ones can place our hope in the resurrection. Even as we inch closer to death ourselves, we can place our hope in our resurrection. We will reign in victory with Christ because of his death and resurrection! I’m reminded of this when I see a church that has a cemetery adjacent to its building. Why? Because it symbolizes the final victory of God where he will reunite the dead in Christ with the living believers to be with him forever (1 Thess. 4). Praise be to the Lord. While we ask him to come quickly, we can also thank him for the changes that are assured by the resurrection!