Summary: He . . . is . . . risen! Yes, Jesus Christ is risen indeed! Only Christ is both the resurrection and the life. The glory of the cross and the wonder of the resurrection make Easter the supreme expression of God’s love. Oh how He loves you and me!!!
Easter: Life Out of Death
Dr. Lewis Gregory
I. Easter-the supreme expression of God’s love
A. Christ: the Resurrection and the Life
He . . . is . . . risen! Yes, Jesus Christ is risen indeed! Only Christ is both the resurrection and the life. However, life—God’s Life—can only come out of death. So without the crucifixion there could have been no resurrection: no death, no life. One died for all in order that all might live—the just for the unjust. Hence, the glory of the cross and the wonder of the resurrection make Easter the supreme expression of God’s love. Oh how He loves you and me!!!
B. The Cross-Christ died for us
At times, I am moved to tears when I reflect upon what Christ did for me at the cross! In light of my own personal pilgrimage that is riddled with sin and shame, I stand in awe of God’s amazing love. Yet, oh—how I thank God for such amazing love that brought about so great salvation, both yours and mine! You see, it was God’s love that made it possible for us to be free from our past and enjoy Him forever. Just think—Christ died for you and me!
C. The Cross-proof God loves you
Pause for a moment to reflect upon the fact that Jesus Christ took your place and died for your sins. Consider the implications of this. Would you want to relive all the horrible, sinful events of your past? Most certainly not! Yet, that is exactly what Christ did for you upon the cross. He felt your pain, your sin, your suffering, and your shame. He became you in every respect, and agonized through every wretched detail of your life. Now that is truly amazing grace; and it’s motivated by pure, unconditional love. Always remember that God loves you very, very much, and the cross proves it.
D. The Cross-God’s design
1. The Plan-God went to the ultimate extreme to demonstrate His love for us. Christ’s death was not a mistake—it was planned. It was part of God’s design prior to creation. According to Ephesians 1:4, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Therefore, His sacrificial death was planned from the beginning.
2. The Provision- Christ is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). God gave the Son of His love to die on the cross for sinful humanity. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God has raised up” (Acts 2:23–24). God the Father did not just plan Christ’s death—He was in on it. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). He was actively involved, through Christ, in making us one with Him. This further demonstrates our heavenly Father’s great love and grace toward us all.
3. The Passion-To thoroughly examine the pinnacle of God’s love—as it is expressed through the cross—is to look into the very core of God’s being. The cross is actually God laying His heart bare before the entire world. God the Father chose to communicate His love in the most graphic manner possible, through the excruciatingly painful death of His beloved Son upon the cross. After such a dramatic demonstration, there should be no doubt that God’s nature is love. Truly, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
II. What Actually Happened When Christ Died?
A. Love Manifested-When Christ died on the cross, love was manifested and justice was meted out. Such an extreme sacrifice, by both the Father and the Son, is perfect love in action. That kind of sacrifice is inconceivable to me. I don’t think any of us can fully grasp it.
B. Love illustrated-My wife Lue and I have three precious children, and now two delightful grandchildren. When our beautiful little granddaughter Taylor Grace joined our family, I would hold her tiny body in my arms, look into her sweet little eyes, and listen to her whimpers. She reminded me of an innocent little lamb. I just can’t comprehend having to sacrifice her or any of the rest of our family—especially for those that don’t merit it, and in fact, deserve just the opposite.
C. Justice Served-Yet, that is exactly what God did for all of us! He unleashed His awful wrath against sin upon His own dearly beloved Son. Justice was served—the just Sacrifice for the unjust sinners. Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, bore the brunt of our sins in order that we might be justified (made right).
D. Christ Became Sin-He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf. In that brief span of time (three days between His death and resurrection), Christ tasted death for every single person, and that includes you! Just as the three Hebrews in the third chapter of Daniel came out of the fiery furnace without the smell of smoke, so Christ came out of the fiery depths of hell untainted. “He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:31). He arose victorious over death, hell, and the grave! Hallelujah!