Jesus had broken the news to His disciples about His impending death on Calvary. He spoke of going away and building mansions. He promised to send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to abide with them forever. He also made another promise, “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19)
At the time, His words had little meaning. His followers didn’t understand, they just couldn’t comprehend, especially as they watched Him being led away to be crucified, and then to see Him take his last breath, and finally, to see His body buried in a borrowed tomb. But the great event of Easter Sunday morning brought it all together – Jesus was resurrected from the dead! He came out of the tomb! Now His words made sense! Because He lives, we can live with victory! What does that mean? …
Because He lives, we can live with victory over sin! The fall of man that took place in the Garden of Eden passed sin down through all the generations to us. (Romans 5:12) The Image of God had been lost, leaving Man standing guilty before the Creator. However, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took our places, and paid the ultimate price for our sins! He gave His life in order to save us! (John 3:16) As a result, we can have victory over the action of sin (1 John 1:9), the guilt of sin (Romans 8:1), and the nature of sin. (Hebrews 13:12)
Because He lives, we can live with victory over death! Due to sin, a death sentence had been pronounced on mankind. The Apostle Paul wrote, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 3:23; 6:23) Death is our paycheck, it’s what we have earned. We live with death every day but we try our best to disguise it. We lay beautiful flowers on a casket, as well as on the grave. We embalm the body, add make up, and place the deceased under colored lights. We try our hardest to deceive ourselves. But for the Christian, one day will be Resurrection Day! That means my Mom and Dad will come out of their graves in Marietta, Georgia! It means you will someday see your Christian loved ones again! It means every believer with sins forgiven will be resurrected at the Rapture of the Church!
Because He lives, we can live with victory over hell! We don’t hear many sermons on hell anymore – we don’t want too! But hell is a very real place for those who turn away from Jesus. Our Lord said, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41-42) That’s where we were headed – until the first Easter! Jesus died, descended into hell, and snatched the keys from Satan’s boney fingers! To John the Revelator, Jesus said, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18)
Because Jesus is alive, we can live with victory over sin, hell, and death. But there’s one more thing. Because He lives, we can live with victory over life! Life is full of problems and perplexities, things we must endure in a lifetime. Because the Risen Christ is alive, He will help us make it through all the tough stuff! We can have victory even over life and all it has to offer!
Bill and Gloria Gaither put it this way: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives.” If we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, you and I can have victory today, as well as tomorrow – victory over sin, victory over hell, victory over death, and even victory over life. All of this is possible only because Jesus didn’t remain in a grave – He lives!
Rev. Danny Goddard is senior paster of New Castle First Church of the Nazarene.