He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
We have crosses on our steeples, crosses on our necklaces and on our clothing, and crosses in our logos and artwork.
What Jesus has accomplished for us in his sacrificial death at the cross is so amazing, so remarkable, so world-changing, that it’s easy to understand why we have made this emblem so prominent in the church. But with such a fitting emphasis on this spectacular event at Calvary, it can be easy to overlook other equally important events.
One regular casualty is Jesus’s resurrection. We have Easter set aside for that, but during the rest of the year, it can be easy to innocently play down the empty tomb, or at least miss this essential truth: not only did Jesus once live and die and rise, but today he lives.
For the Christian, just as important as Jesus’s bloody cross is his empty tomb. Because it means he lives.
My Savior Lives
The apostle Paul doesn’t leave any doubt about the importance of the resurrection when he writes in 1 Corinthians 15,
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. . . . If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:14–19)
That Jesus died means that in him our sin and unrighteousness has received its just punishment. That he lives means that we have in him the righteousness God requires. That he died means we have forgiveness. That he lives means we have righteousness. He “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
That Jesus died means he has offered up, as our great high priest, his great sacrifice on our behalf. “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). That he lives means he now unceasingly intercedes for us at his Father’s right hand. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Our Living, Loving Lord
That Jesus died means he has demonstrated climactically in history his love for his church. As the apostle Paul says, he “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), because “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That he lives means that not only has he shown his love for us in the past, but that he loves us today. As surely as he lives, he loves us.
That Jesus lives means that our best days are not behind us, but ahead; that our great hope is not some mere hero of the past, but the living Lord of the universe; that our faith is not dead, but unites us to an active Savior, Treasure, and Friend.
It is an infinitely precious thing to say not just that Jesus died, but that he lives.