“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
Today's Devotional Insight...
Steven Spielberg is my favorite movie director. E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws form the perfect trifecta. Childhood dreams and fears were built around them. But for all his brilliance, the man just can’t do endings. Too often his movies are over-resolved, with things tied up a bit too neatly and set against a sunset that begs belief—the three sappiest endings being Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, and A.I.
Too many of us view the resurrection of Jesus similarly—as little more than a nice, happy conclusion to the gospel story. As if after all the darkness of the betrayal, denial, and death, Spielberg was brought in to do the ending. Somewhere in the background a lavish sunset blazes away.
But the Easter story isn’t just “what happens next” to Jesus after his death. It doesn’t just wrap up the story; it fulfills it. In fact, there really is no story without it. It’s not just a matter of chronology but theology—vital, glorious theology. Without it we have nothing, and are nothing. The resurrection saves us. Good Friday is no good at all without Easter Sunday.
The resurrection doesn’t just wrap up the story; it fulfills it. Good Friday is no good at all without Easter Sunday.
No Resurrection, No Salvation
Paul reveals the necessity of Easter in a striking way: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
He connects the resurrection to our justification. He’s not saying we’re half-saved by the cross and half-saved by the resurrection. But he is saying without the resurrection, we are lost. No resurrection means no justification: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).
If Jesus is dead, our sin debt remains unpaid, and we remain under sin’s dominion. If there was no Easter life for Jesus, there is no new life for us. The blood of Jesus saves us because he is now alive.
But why exactly do we need the resurrection for these things to be certain? The wider story of the Bible shows us. The raising of Jesus from death is significant because death is significant. Only when we understand what death means will we be able to grasp what Easter means.
Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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