This sermon was delivered during the Coronavirus “stay at home” order, and so was conducted virtually as we held our services over Zoom.
Raised for Our Justification (Romans 4:25)
CrossWay Community Church
April 12th, 2020
My question—that which at the age of fifty brought me to the verge of suicide—was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man … a question without an answer to which one cannot live. It was: ‘What will come of what I am doing today or tomorrow? What will come of my whole life? Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?’ It can also be expressed thus: Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?
—Leo Tolstoy (A Confession), channeling his inner Qohelet, Ecclesiastes.
The answer: no, nothing, futility, or, as the book of Ecclesiastes itself puts it, a mere “striving after wind.”
Death is the ultimate “vanitizer.” Nothing escapes its finalizing, universal stamp of “pointless.”
That is apart from resurrection.
Enter Jesus. Welcome, Easter.
The following is the section on Christ’s resurrection from my personal statement of faith.
If you’d like, use the following, with its footnotes of scriptural references, to work your way through relevant texts and mediate on the meaning and significance of Christ’s resurrection.
Christ’s bodily resurrection serves as the decisive validation of his ministry and claims. God’s resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that Christ’s sin-vanquishing (and thereby death-defeating) death was indeed effective and vindicates him as God’s appointed Messiah. In fact, it is regarded as his Messianic enthronement. His appointment as judge is confirmed by his resurrection. Because he lives indestructibly, he is permanently able to make intersession for those for whom he died. Through his resurrection he triumphed over demonic forces. Christ embodies the hope of resurrection. In his resurrection, he annihilated death and obtained incorruptibility. As such, in him the eschatological order of resurrection, new creation, new humanity, and Spirit-empowered existence has dawned. His personal resurrection inaugurates the general resurrection. It functions representatively for all those united to him. In him believers are already raised spiritually and will eventually be raised bodily—one holistic resurrection occurring in two installments.