Life leads to death and death leads to life. This is the image of spring, new life! What was once dormant now comes to full life. The seed “dies” so the plant may grow and bloom. Following Jesus is the same process. We live dormant, unrealized lives until that moment of faith, that spark of spring, hits us. We hear and believe the gospel message. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…” (1 Cor. 15:3-6) This faith takes root and leads us to reconcile our sin by accepting Christ’s blood that was shed on the cross – his life, his death for my death, my life. We respond to this gift and join Jesus in the death and resurrection through baptism. The Bible says in Romans 6:4; “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Do you see it? Life leads to death and death leads to life. We are talking about doing away with our old life, our old way of living. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24; “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The Bible teaches that this transition, this new life, this new identity is directly linked to our response to Faith coming alive in action. Listen to Galatians 3:26-27; “You are all sons (and daughters) of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” - A preacher from my childhood said that we are “putting on our Jesus suit.” We have a new identity, a new life… the old is gone. My sin demanded blood payment. Jesus made that payment. Yet, I still need to acknowledge my need for that payment, accept it and receive the gift.
Jesus knew what he had to do. Give his life. Why he had to do it… to glorify the Father. Life leads to death and death leads to life. Jesus said; “The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. No my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” - John 12:23-28
This Sunday is Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday… the day we celebrate new life. Will you also celebrate this new life? Will you join us? Not just in attendance, but with your life… giving it over to Jesus. New Life!