“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:6-7 NIV
Living in this broken world, people know defeat all too well. Everyone has experienced a relationship where someone let them down, or a situation that didn’t work out in the way they hoped. These moments of disappointment or frustration reveal the tragic fact that this world is deeply flawed. Even though believers live in the hope of the resurrection and the victorious life that Jesus promises through his Spirit, he still calls us to live in this world, where we experience death, brokenness, mourning and pain (in contrast to the coming kingdom: Rev 21:4).
Jesus’ resurrection reveals to believers the true way of life. Those who think that the abundant life consists of finding one’s way around suffering and hardship have a misguided perception of what Jesus promised. Jesus’ life and example teach that the way to fulfill life consists of service, hardship, opposition, pain and suffering. Believers look at Jesus’ life and see that God’s best plan for his Son was to stay close to him through the most unimaginable of circumstances. The New Testament shows many times over that God was with his Son until the end, when Jesus took our sin upon himself and suffered on the cross.
But the good news is God didn’t leave his Son in the grave! Because Jesus submitted to the point of death, and then defeated death, he paved the way for all people to find eternal life. By submitting himself to death, Jesus found life. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mk 8:35). It’s only in surrendering to his will and his way that believers actually find the fullness of life as God intended it. Giving is the key to gaining.
In all of this, Jesus is victorious. He was, is, and will always be undefeated by sin, by death, and by the grave. His victory is found in the fact that he was, and is, a selfless servant. In graciously giving his life, he also created a pathway to the life that is truly life eternal.
What might God be trying to teach you about living as Jesus did?