“I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). In His glorious resurrection, Christ proved that He is life, and the author and source of life. Resurrection is not just an expectation consequential to death, but rather a victorious defeat over death through Christ Jesus. Only the One who is above death can conquer death. Only life can diminish death, in the same manner as only light can break darkness. It is not something we expect, but One to whom we submit in an intimate relationship. He is not just a mere means to life, but He, Himself, is life. “I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Thus, resurrection for humanity can only be achieved through a personal close relationship with Christ, the source of life, because He is life and the resurrection, not a byproduct of the resurrection. The glorious resurrection of Christ proved His divinity, fulfilled all the prophecies, revealed to the world that He is the Messiah, and affirmed that He is the Saviour of the world.
Perfect in His humanity and perfect in His divinity, Christ is the resurrection and the life. To Martha, who was caught up in the expectations of the Law, He expounded this reality (John 11:25). To the Samaritan woman, He said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Like Martha, the knowledge of this woman from Samaria was inferior, because it was merely based on an intangible fragment of expectations. After a long discourse and first diffusing her defences and self-pity, He plainly revealed that it is He who is the source of life. She need not search any further. “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:26). Christ Jesus is life and the source of life. Only He can give this living water for He is the source of all life. The resurrection is Him, not only in Him, not an occurrence that would take place, but He is indeed the resurrection and the life.
The life of our Lord Jesus Christ had two missions: salvation and restoration. Salvation required His incarnation, crucifixion, and burial. Thus, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This He spoke only about His ministry on earth. He poured Himself out for us, and in the end, when He could not find any more excuses, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). He blamed their ignorance for their wickedness, like a loving Father that covers the sins of His children before their accusers. So many were healed, so many were touched, so many were comforted.
The mute spoke but kept silent against the injustice of the cross. The lame walked but did not go to the cross. The blind could see but looked away from the cross. The deaf could hear but suppressed the sounds of the nails piercing His body to the cross. The lepers were cleansed but did not approach the cross. The dead were raised, but were far from Him in His final hour on the cross. Ashamed of her inhabitants, the earth hid her rays from the cross. But, now, if any still have doubt, be assured that the cross is the only way to life. On the cross, He willingly submitted His life for us, that by His life, we would reap eternal life and a glorious resurrection with Him and in Him.
Societies conjure an assortment of medicinal remedies to elongate the years of life. We purchase life insurance, medical insurance, disability insurance, and many more insurances to safeguard the quality of life here on earth. No price is too much when it comes to the preservation of one’s wellbeing. We surround ourselves with a false sense of security. In reality, Christ Jesus is our only life indemnity. His policy is unmatched. It is eternal. It is actually a life assurance policy. Life assurance is only in Jesus Christ, the true guarantor of life. He paid our debts with the plan of salvation.
For us, the premium was only thirty pieces of silver, the estimated base wages of a slave (Exodus 31:32; Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 26:15). To Christ Jesus, the cost was pain, lashes, thorns, nails, hatred, humiliation, blood, death, and burial. Willingly, He was determined to execute this plan and would not have taken anything more than the wages of a loving and willing servant. Thus, Isaiah prophesied, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!” (Isaiah 42:1).
In His glorious resurrection, He rose with power and might and defeated the sting of death on behalf of every human soul, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1Cor 15:54; cf. Isa 25:8; cf. Hos 13:14). Death was defeated and restoration necessitated Christ to add four more essential steps—His resurrection, His ascension, His sitting at the right hand of His Father, and His second coming.
By His resurrection, we are assured of our eternal life. By His ascension, we are assured of our entrance into the heavenly realm. By His sitting at the right hand of His Father, we are assured of our eternal place beside Him in God’s favour. By His second coming, we are assured that He will receive us unto Himself for eternity. “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool” (Heb 10:12-13).
Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!
Glory be to God, forever, Amen.
His Grace Bishop Youssef is Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States (www.suscopts.org)
16 April 2017