If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
At this time in the Church year, Lent ends and Easter begins. In the season of Lent we are reminded of our own sinful state, our own need for repentance. We are faced with our sin, and the penalty of sin is death. We remember the words recorded in Genesis …for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19) As we enter into the season of Easter we are reminded of Jesus’ victory over our sin and death. In Easter we are encouraged by the resurrection; even though this mortal frame will fail us, even though we will die. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, so will we. Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (2 Corinthians 4:14) In Romans Paul speaks of the implications of the resurrection on our lives here. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:3-11)
The new life we live in Christ is a direct result of what He did for us on the cross. He continues to gift us with His grace through Word and Sacrament even now. Jesus rose again victorious. He defeated death, hell and the devil for us!
His victory extends beyond this life here; it extends beyond our human comprehension. It extends to the new creation where He has a place prepared for us. We are victorious, not because we were great, not because we were strong, but because He who was the greatest became the least, because He who was the strongest, became the weakest. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) God’s peace.
Pastor Nick Kandoll, New York Mills, MN