On a recent trip to Kent my family visited St. Martin’s Church, the oldest church building in the English speaking world, c. 597. Aside from the indebtedness felt to the Lord for Christianity coming to the English, we found another treasure on the Church grounds.
We love looking around old cemeteries. Call it creepy if you must but we love to learn of people’s stories, enjoy the peace and quiet, and perhaps most of all look over the Christian imagery on the stones, or in this case the grave itself. We came across this grave which had an iron rail around it, inscribed with “In Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive.” It is a reference to 1 Cor 15:22.
Far from teaching universalism (that because of Jesus all will be well for all), Paul is making an important argument in a famous chapter on the Resurrection. It is a great encouragement for the Christian and a wonderful invitation to trust in Jesus for the non-believer. Verse 21 says that sin and death entered the human experience because of one man’s sin, Adam. He is our figurehead. Likewise when we trust in Jesus He becomes our new figure head and we gain all His benefits, which in this case is a Resurrection like His! Whilst we are made alive the moment we believe in part (Jn 10:10) through the gift of the Spirit, still the Christian will know death. In God’s plan “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” But when Christ returns and the dead are raised, the Christian—in their Resurrected and glorified body—they will be made alive forever more, to reign with Jesus in the New Heavens and the New Earth. What a glorious hope someone has when they are in Christ.
Darkness, an earthquake and more… What exactly happened on the cross?
The Bible puts forward the rich and multi-faceted truth of the atonement to capture the magnitude of what transpired on the cross. It was the moment when God addressed the chasm sin had created between mankind and Himself to restore all rebels who would believe in His Son Jesus to Himself.
People often don’t make much of sin, but the Bible does and so should we! It says the chasm of sin is the difference between:
Life and death
Unrighteousness and righteousness
Heaven and hell
The Bible says there is only one way to get across, trusting in what Jesus did on the Cross. Are you trusting in Jesus for your salvation? Faith in Him is the only way to get across the chasm created by your sin.
I tell you the truth. Whoever hears my message and trusts in God who sent me has eternal life. They will not be condemned for their sin but have crossed over from death into life! (John 5:24).
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Philippians 3:8 KJV)
I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
Can you say this statement along with the apostle Paul? Above all things is Jesus your all in all, your delight? Various Bible versions translate a word from Philippians as either “excellence” or “surpassing worthy.” In this instance I appreciate the way the KJV puts it—excellency. Alluding to a story in the OT (Nu 21:9) Jesus said of himself, “the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:14–15). To “lift up” means to exult or to magnify. Jesus said this about His being lifted up on a cross for the salvation of sinners, it can also apply more generally to His name being highly esteemed. Does your soul delight when you hear His name? This Easter we are going to be looking at the excellency of Jesus in his life, death, resurrection, ascension and return. Why? So disciples of Jesus may marvel at the excellency of their Lord and so non-Christians might come to behold his surpassing worth, believe and so call Him, “my Lord.”
It is a known fact that Christianity hangs or falls on whether the events of that first Easter were indeed true as Christians claim. When looking for evidence to build ourselves up in the faith or in seeking to share what the Bible says with sceptics (apologetics-defending the faith) it is helpful to examine the evidence for Easter.
Popular apologist Lee Strobel (author of the Case for… series, including the Case for Easter), helpfully gives us 4 bite sized snippets to encourage and to share: