The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. This is why Paul can say in 1 Corinthians 15, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?…. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 54-57, NLT).
You and I live and die, but Christ died and lived. Easter is about how Christ causes us to live and die and live again. Jesus said in John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this…?” (vs. 25-26, NLT).
Easter is about two major events: the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. With that in mind I want us to focus in on Romans 4:25 which says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (NLT). Let’s think about this.
The Death of Jesus
First of all, we are told that Jesus “was handed over to die because of our sins” (NLT). The crucifixion and death of Jesus did not surprise the Heavenly Father. His death was preplanned by God. The Bible says in Ephesians 1, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (vs. 4-5, NLT).
- Jesus was falsely arrested, put in a mock trial, and sentenced to death. That didn’t surprise the heavenly Father.
- Jesus was tied to a whipping post and His back whipped until it looked like raw meat, the soldiers mocked Him, punched Him, ripped out His beard, and place a crown of thorns on His head.
- Jesus was made to carry His own cross through town while others mocked Him and ridiculed Him.
- Jesus had nails driven through His wrist and feet and was placed between two thieves… none of this came as a surprise to the Heavenly Father.
- When Jesus was on the cross He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He wasn’t asking that question because He didn’t know the answer. Jesus asked that question so we would think about the answer. When Jesus was on the cross He was separated from the Heavenly Father for the first time, not because of any sin in His life (which there was none), but because of our sin.
- While Jesus was on the cross the Bible says “darkness came over the land” (Matthew 27:45).
- The Bible tells us right before Jesus died He said, “’Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!’ And with those words he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46, NLT).
- Immediately, the curtain in the temple that symbolized the separation between God and people was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth began to quake and the rocks began to split (Matt. 27:51).
- After Jesus was removed from the cross they placed His body in a tomb, sealed it with a Roman seal, and placed a Roman guard around it with several soldiers to keep any one from stealing the body (Matt. 27:62-66). None of this took the Heavenly Father by surprise.
Three things I want you to know about Jesus and His death from Romans 4:25.
Jesus died voluntarily
Number one, Jesus died voluntarily. Paul says Jesus “was handed over to die.” The idea here is that Jesus was “delivered up” (CSB) or “delivered over” (NASB) to be crucified and die for our sins. This was a voluntary act on the part of Jesus. Talking about this voluntary act, Jesus said, “This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father” (John 10:17-18, CSB). Paul refers to this in Galatians 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT). He allowed Himself to be “handed over to die.” It was an act of loving sacrifice for you and me. He wasn’t forced to do this. He chose to do this.
Jesus died as a substitute
Number two, Jesus died as a substitute. Romans 4:25 says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins.” The Bible teaches us that Jesus is sinless. He never sinned in thought or action. He was never selfish. However, He voluntarily choose to receive the punishment you and I should have received for our sins against God. He became our substitute.
Isaiah 53:4-6 says, “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (NLT). Jesus was our substitute on the cross.
Jesus died for all
Number three, Jesus died for all. Romans 4:25 says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins.” Notice it says “our” sins. My sin. Your sin. Everyone’s sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (NLT). Then Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). Jesus died so that you might have life. He died so that you may be free.
The Resurrection of Jesus
This brings us to the second half of Romans 4:25 which says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (NLT). Here is where we focus on the resurrection of Jesus.
- The body of Jesus is in the tomb. The tomb is sealed.
- The guard has been placed around it. The disciples have scattered. Jesus has been dead for three days.
- On this particular morning, Mary the mother of Jesus along with some other women started toward the tomb.
- Unknown to them a violent earthquake happens at the tomb. An angel descends upon the tomb and rolls away the stone and sits on it. The guards faint and eventually leave (Matt. 28:2-4).
- When the women get there they find the stone rolled away and the guards have left. The tomb has been abandoned, so they think.
- When they enter the tomb looking for the body of Jesus they are greeted by an angel who said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died” (Mark 16:6-7, NLT).
- The women ran to find the disciples. They told them what had happened. Peter took off running to the tomb and when he arrived he looked into the tomb and saw the Lord’s graves clothes neatly folded in the tomb (John 20:2-10).
- Eventually, Jesus appears to the disciples and many others and ascends to the Father.
Three things I want you to know about Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for you who believe.
Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our justification
Number one, Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our justification. Romans 4:25 says, “He was raised to life to make us right with God” (NLT). Some translations word this as “He was raised to life for our justification.” Justification refers to God declaring righteous those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God views you as someone who has never sinned (Rom. 3:24, 28; 5:1, 8-9). Justification requires forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Because of the resurrection of Jesus you have an opportunity to stand before God as though you have never sinned. Jesus took all your sins and gave you all His righteousness. You are justified.
Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our regeneration
Number two, Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our regeneration. Regeneration refers to God giving new life to the person who believes on Jesus Christ for salvation. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ you are able to be born again and become a new creation (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). Look closely at what 1 Peter 1:3 says, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (NLT). The Lord’s resurrection gives you an opportunity to be born again on inside. You can be forgiven and made new.
Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our glorification
Number three, Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our glorification. Glorification is the final act of salvation, which gives all believers a new resurrected body. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, believers will receive a new body that is both physical and spiritual in nature that will not wear out, not be impacted by sin, and will be strong physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Listen to this in 1 Corinthians 6:14, “And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead” (NLT). Later in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul goes into great detail explaining the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of believers and how they connect. One of the amazing things he says is in verse 42 which says, “It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies” (1 Cor. 15:42-44, NLT). The best is yet to come. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees the resurrection of all those who believe in Him, who have placed their faith for salvation in Him.
Jesus said in John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this…?” (vs. 25-26, NLT). Jesus asked a good question, “Do you believe this?”