I debated whether to write about Christ’s death and resurrection this Easter or simply ignore it. Every Christian blogger and writer on the Internet will have something to say about the events we celebrate this weekend. So would one more article about Christ’s death and resurrection really matter? Is there anything left to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times over? Instead of writing an article about the facts of that weekend or the theological meaning found in Christ’s death and resurrection or the promise of new life as we enter into springtime, all of which are good and needed, allow me to take a different tack.
Many this weekend will meditate on what Christ’s death and resurrection has provided for them. They will marvel at the payment of sin and the promise of eternal life, both very important. But, the death and resurrection of Christ are deeper than the acknowledgment of what He has done for us. Not only are we to marvel at it, to remember it, and to understand the factual evidence but, it is supposed to change us and become a reality in our own lives. A reality of fact and faith, and of choices, of priorities, of activities, of identity, of meaning, and of direction. Instead of simply remembering what Christ has done we are expected to join Him. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7–11, NASB95)
We are to marvel at Christ’s suffering and death and we are to emulate it by laying down our own lives for the sake of others. While real death may be required (there are still those being physically martyred for Christ) we join in Christ’s sufferings and death by dying to self. We die to self by choosing to lay down our desires, choices, priorities, activities, identity, meaning, and direction for the sake Christ and others. So many folks focus on getting to know the power of the resurrection, few focus on the fellowship of His sufferings and being conformed to His death. This Easter I encourage you to not only consider the wondrous, tragic, mysterious events of Christ’s passion but to also ask God how you too may lay down your own life for the sake of Christ and others. Remember, only that which has died can be resurrected.