As the Lenten season ends with “Holy Week,” which began last Sunday, Palm Sunday, Christians have accompanied Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, including the last supper with his disciples on Thursday, when churches observe the sacrament of communion — (this year individually at home).
And now, today is Good Friday, which we observe as the event of Jesus’ death on the cross for our salvation. It is a time when we too die to sin in anticipation of a new life in Christ.
“The Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith,” adopted by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., begins: “In life and in death we belong to God.”
Scripture affirms in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
In Romans 6 Paul writes:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
In John 11 Jesus declares at the raising of Lazarus:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Through Jesus’ sacrificial love and death and resurrection, we too share with him in eternal life. Eternal life does not mean living forever, as the Greeks believed. Rather it is sharing with Christ in a timeless eternity with God, including the present.
It is a life to live for. As the hymn writer Thomas O. Chisholm put it:
Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
We are called as Christians to join with Christ in a new resurrected life.
And that is the Good News of Easter for us.
David Tritenbach is a retired Presbyterian minister.