Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15:1-4)
Katie the Encourager
Even the best of believers can lose sight of our glorious comfort in Christ and get discouraged. Martin Luther was usually a cheerful follower of Christ, but sometimes he struggled with severe depression. He translated the Bible into German, wrote books with great insight into Holy Scripture, and often spent three hours a day in prayer. And yet even with these disciplines of grace, Luther sometimes became very disheartened and miserable. His wife, Katie was the Lord’s messenger to help her husband through these dark times. She “preached” the gospel to Martin Luther, the great preacher.
One time, when Luther was overwhelmed with negative thoughts and feelings, he locked himself in his study, brooding for several days. Katie had someone take the door off the hinges and forced Martin out of his gloomy room. When Luther came out, he saw Katie and the children dressed in black and asked, “Who has died?” Katie wept and said, “It’s our Lord. He’s dead!”
Luther thundered, “Nonsense, Christ isn’t dead; He’s risen and reigning; He’s King of kings and Lord of lords and returning soon. Jesus cannot die again!” Katie asked, “Why then have you been moping around as if Christ were dead? I thought our Lord must have died, judging from the way you were acting.” Luther burst into a hearty laugh, and said, “Kate, you are a wise and loving wife. We have a living God to trust in. Thank you for the reminder. Now take off your funeral clothes.”
It’s Satan’s delight to tell me that once he’s got me, he will keep me. But at that moment I can go back to God. And I know that if I confess my sins, God is faithful and just to forgive me. (Alan Redpath)
Are we ignoring the Risen Christ, wallowing in depression and discouragement? Are we living like the rest of mankind who have no hope? Are we weary from spiritual battles and burdens, grumpy and gruff with loved ones? Then let’s re-remember that Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again and encourage ourselves and others with this life-changing truth.
The Impact of Jesus’ Resurrection
Here are a few ramifications of Christ’s resurrection that increase our joy and peace in Him. (Note: we’ve covered more of these in other places):
1. Christ’s resurrection proves He is God. “Jesus our Lord through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead.”1 Christ demonstrated His identity and deity by fulfilling Old Testament prophecies of His death and His rising from the grave. Because Jesus fulfilled these Scriptures, He will also fulfill every other promise that He makes in the Bible and we can rely on Him to do that. They who trust God wholly find Him wholly true.
2. Christ’s resurrection guarantees our forgiveness. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (pardon and acceptance with God).”2 Because Jesus died and rose for our forgiveness, we can and must forgive people who wrong us. Forgiveness is God’s command. (Martin Luther)
3. Christ’s resurrection guarantees that we are already raised to a new way of thinking, desiring, and behaving. “We were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”3 Jesus has broken sin’s power to control us, so let us not slide back into the swamp.
4. Christ’s resurrection guarantees our place with Him in Paradise. “Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”4
5. Christ’s resurrection guarantees that Satan is defeated. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy (loose, unbind, unravel, dissolve) the devil’s work.”5 Jesus keeps us safe and the evil one cannot harm us.6
6. Christ’s resurrection guarantees that our service to and for Jesus is never pointless or useless. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”7
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5)
Notes: 1 Rom 1:4. 2 Rom 4:25. 3 Rom 6:4. 4 John 11:25-26. 5 1 John 3:8. 6 1 John 5:18. 7 1 Cor 15:58.