God raised Jesus from the dead. What great news! “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:23-24). But did you know that it was you and I who had Him killed by hanging Him on a tree? At first glance, that seems preposterous. You and I were not even there some 2000 years ago. But Acts 5:30-31 says, “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” The phenomenon is that Jesus laid down His life for us, the ones whose sins killed Him.
All of us have sinned. We are all guilty. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But Jesus died for all sinners. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this way: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Why did He die for us? 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus was innocent. He became the sins that confine and separate us from God. Hebrews 12:2 says, “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Why would anyone joyfully endure the torturous nature of crucifixion? Because Jesus loves us so much! He stood in your place, died your death, defeated your sin, and made a way back to God – just for you. Without His death, no one could be saved or set free from sin.
You see, Jesus really died so you and I could really die to sin. Jesus really resurrected from the dead so you and I could really resurrect into a completely new and different life in Him. Jesus was really dead and really came back to life. He was beaten, scourged, and tortured. He was nailed to a cross with three spikes that were about 8 inches long and a half inch thick. To make sure He did die, the Roman soldiers speared Him in the side, piercing His lung and heart. He died the death you and I should have died. He died in our place – our substitute. While dying for our sins was not ours to bear, living for Him is. Because of what He did for us, we should willingly give our lives to Him. The purpose of trusting in Christ is for forgiveness of sins, because it is from sin that we need to be saved. “Christ died for our sins” and “was buried, and ... raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain, your faith in Him would be pointless, and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of spiritual life. Because Christ lives, we too shall live (John 14:19).
In Romans chapter 10 there are two great verses that bring this right down to our own lives. Verse 9 and 10 say that, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Salvation is equal to eternal life and deliverance from sin. Salvation in Christ is our only hope. Salvation determines our eternal destiny. Salvation is only for those who believe in the resurrection and who confess Jesus as Lord. My prayer is that you see God’s great love clearly expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I pray today you repent of your sins, believe in the resurrection, and confess Jesus as Lord.