"HE IS NOT HERE - FOR HE IS RISEN!"
I’ve been trying to get this blog post to go through since last Saturday night, but the internet connection at our house is out and the two hotels I’ve been to haven’t had a good connection either. Nonetheless, I persevere.
I wanted to share these pictures I took in Jerusalem (2008) so you might get a visual of the path our Lord Jesus took to the cross and where he *might* have been buried. Most all of the sites in Israel are “traditionally” where Christians believed certain events took place, but no one can know for sure and there are a few places where it’s obvious that wasn’t the biblical location. In addition to my pictures I have posted "The ‘Who,’ ‘What,’ and ‘Where’ of Holy Week: A Visualization" that appeared last week on Justin Taylor’s blog, Between Two Worlds.
For the past few days I’ve been itching to share my Easter thoughts, so here they are:
We who are in Christ Jesus have also died to sin and resurrected to new life. This means that we become just like Jesus in every way as we share in his sufferings and the crucifixion of our old selves. We are being made into his likeness every single day, and the sinless nature of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is the exact nature we take on. Can anyone be perfect, can anyone not sin? Well, that’s what the Bible says. Paul makes this clear on more than one occasion, but some of my favorite passages are in Romans 6-8. Without typing a 20 page exegetical paper, I want us to see that the entirety of Paul’s claims about what it even means to be a Christian - his basis for helping us understand our position in Christ - is that we are united with Christ in his DEATH and RESURRECTION. This means we are dead to sin, alive to Christ, and therefore “BY NO MEANS/NEVER/NO WAY/MAY IT NEVER BE SO” that we should continue sinning. Easter is glorious because Jesus rose from the dead, he is alive, and he reigns above all…and I know you haven’t forgotten that Jesus died for your sins - that’s the whole point! But I pray that more Christians (including myself) would live out biblical truth that we do not have to live this life now on earth and sin! We have been freed from sin (past tense)! How liberating it is to see and understand that God planned it all to work that way, and that those with faith in the work of Jesus have literally become united as ONE body with Christ who is the head. Don’t make excuses for your sin, and don’t say, “Well, no one is perfect…thank God for grace!” YES, hallelujah praise Jesus that he rose and thank God for grace!…..but Paul uses the very fact that God does have grace and that Christ did die and resurrect to say to believers,
"How can you who have died to sin (past tense) continue living in it(present tense)? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
In other words, “Do you even know what it means to be a Christian? It means you don’t go on sinning…how can you???”
Lastly, I need to say that it’s not about “trying not to sin.” What Paul is talking about is a supernatural change that has taken place — a reworking of the human heart and sin-nature that can only be done by God. We don’t stop sinning because we choose to. We stop sinning because we are united with Christ, have the presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit within us, and it is impossible to live in sin if all of that has laid its claim on your life. Be encouraged by the fact that you can’t be good by trying to be good…..but you can be perfect through Jesus. Amen? Yes, Amen.
(Click through to see a larger high-resolution image. Then right click and click “Save As” to download. Or download in PDF format.
(via Between Two Worlds) Readers may also want to check out a Google Map of Jerusalem, constructed by Crossway, pinpointing (to the best of our knowledge) the location of the major events of Holy Week with chronology. (Click through for more info.)