BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
At Easter, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated worldwide, every year. Without any doubt, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ have eternal impact. Just like the word Christmas, Easter is not mentioned in the Bible except in Acts 12:4, in the King James Version, and it’s not referring to the resurrection of Jesus. Instead of Easter, other translations use Passover in this particular scripture.
As the world commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, it is important to go through the Word of God for the benefits of this great sacrifice to humanity. Though Jesus died at a young age of thirty-three and a half, His death is not a tragedy, because He came to die to redeem humanity.
What are the benefits of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection?
1. Jesus’ death and resurrection confirms that He was both the Son of God and the Son of man. His death and resurrection support His claim that He was the Son of God and the Son of man.
Jesus, during His earthly ministry, often referred to Himself these two ways, which refer to His divinity and His humanity. Jesus was both God and man. It is an error to believe that Jesus was only divine or only man. He was hundred percent both. It is a mystery!
It is normal for human beings to die, which shows they are human. But when a man died and resurrected, as Jesus had promised and did, that should confirm that such a person was more than human.
Jesus walked around like every other man before his crucifixion, but He resurrected like no human being had done. “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men” (Matt 28:2-4 NKJV).
The rolling away of the stone at the entrance of the grave, by the angel, cleared the way for anyone to enter to confirm that Jesus was risen. The guards had been posted there by the Chief Priest and the Pharisees to secure the tomb after receiving Pilate’s approval. They wanted to prevent the body of Jesus from being stolen by his disciples, who would then lie that he had resurrected! (Matt 27:62-65) But the disciples had no such intention. When the guards saw the angel, they shook with fear; they became like dead men.
It is significant that an earthquake accompanied Jesus’ death, and another earthquake announced His resurrection. When Jesus yielded up His spirit this happened: “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matt 27:51-54 NKJV) Did you see the last phrase there? – The testimony that truly Jesus was the Son of God. The events surrounding His death were strange.
Mark 16:1-5 reports what happened after Mary and the other women visited the Jesus’ tomb thus: “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away — for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed” (NKJV).
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the highest ruling body, and a secret disciple of Jesus (John 13:38), who buried Jesus in a tomb hewn out of the rock, had rolled a stone against the door of the tomb (Mark 15:46). The stone was to safeguard it as it was the Jewish custom. Joseph was a rich man (Matt 27:57), and the burial of Jesus in his own grave was a fulfillment of prophecy. “He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave” (Isa 53:9 NLT).
If the stone had not been rolled away, these disciples of Jesus wouldn’t have been able to enter. Therefore, they wouldn’t have known immediately that He had resurrected. The young man clothed in a long white robe that Mary and the other women met sitting inside the tomb, told them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples — and Peter — that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you” (Mark 16:6-7 NKJV).
God raised His Son from the dead (1 Thess 1:10). He confirmed that He was the Son of God. Paul said in Rom 1:4, “And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit” (NLT). If Jesus were only human, He wouldn’t have resurrected.
2. Through Jesus’ death, believers received forgiveness of their sins, justification and sanctification. Jesus died for the forgiveness of the sins of the world (Acts 5:31, 13:38b; Col 1:14). Paul said in Eph 1:7 that in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. He carried the sins of sinners upon Him. So when He died, sinners also died! If Jesus didn’t die for sinners, sinners would still be guilty of their sins. “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Cor 15:17-18 NKJV)
Sinners who’re guilty today are only those who have rejected or reject the work of salvation that Jesus did on the cross. Those who believe in Jesus, accept Him as their Lord and Saviour, and obey His teachings are set free from their sins.
Those who believe in Jesus have the privilege of being born again. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have opened the door for anyone who believes in Him to be born again into a hope. Before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, nobody was born again; nobody had the opportunity of a new life or of a living hope. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NKJV). The New Living Translation uses the phrase “born again” in place of “begotten again.”
Jesus says in John 3:3 that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. To be born again means to be born anew. That means to be saved. Paul says if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:9-10).
According to Rom 4:25, Jesus was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Those God has predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified (Rom 8:30).
Because sinners are forgiven, they are also justified – it is as if they have not sinned! God forgives their sins and remembers them no more (Jer 31:34). That does not mean they are sinless after being saved. If a believer sins after he is born again, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection still guarantee him God’s forgiveness, once he genuinely repents. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10 NKJV). That is not a license to continue to sin, but an acknowledgement of our humanity. “So if we continue to live in him, we won’t sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him or understood who he is” (1 John 3:5-6 NLT).
Before and after salvation, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus – the blood of sprinkling – that He shed on the cross (1 Peter 1:2; Heb 12:24). After Jesus had died, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out (John 19:34). According to Eph 5:27, “He died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it” (NCV).
Jesus sanctifies the church by the sacrifice of His body on the cross (Heb 10:10). Sanctification is defined as “The process of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from sin and becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary). By offering Himself and dying on the cross, Jesus perfected forever those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14). Sanctification is God’s will for His children; He wants them to control their body in sanctification (holiness) and honour (1 Thess 4:3). Sanctification is not possible without Jesus’ death on the cross.
3. Because of Jesus’ death believers have victory over sin. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, our old sinful nature was crucified with Him. Therefore, sin has lost its power over our lives. When Jesus died; we died with Him. We were set free from the power of sin.
Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin; he who has died has been freed from sin (Rom 6:6-7). “He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus” (verses 10-11 NLT).
Just as the believer died with Christ; he also resurrected with Christ unto a new life (2 Tim 2:11). He is not the old person, but a new person when He gives his life to Christ. Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, the believer can live a new life in Christ Jesus.
Paul put it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Gal 2:20-21 NKJV).
4. Jesus’ resurrection gives believers the assurance that there will be resurrection of the dead and the Christian faith and preaching are not useless. Jesus is described as the firstborn from the dead (Col 1:18). His resurrection confirms that death is not the end of everything on earth. There is resurrection after death.
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor 15:12-19 NKJV).
According to 1 Cor 15:13, if there is no resurrection of the dead, it means Christ has not been raised. Verse 32 says if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and get drunk, for tomorrow we die!” (NLT) But there is resurrection.
After death, sinners and saints will resurrect. The sinners will face judgment and will be cast into hell. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8 NKJV).
The saints, who were dead as at the time the rapture will take place, will resurrect and together with the living saints will be caught up with Him in the sky (1Thess 4:17-18). “But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised” (1 Cor 15:23 NLT). Eventually, the saints will not face judgment, but will only receive reward (Rev 11:18).
5. Jesus’ death and resurrection confirmed His declaration that He is the resurrection and the life. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11: 25 NKJV).
The death and resurrection of Jesus give believers victory over death. Though we may die, we have the hope of resurrection. Death is a transition to another life – eternity. Then, our mortal bodies will be transformed to an immortal bodies. “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’” (1 Cor 15:54-55 NKJV)
6. Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension made the Holy Spirit to come. Jesus had promised His disciples the Holy Spirit. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26 NKJV). He told them that it was to their advantage that He went; otherwise, the Holy Spirit, which He would send, would not come (John 16:7).
This promise was yet to be fulfilled up to the time of His ascension, because He must go before the Holy Spirit would come. He told them in Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (NKJV). He told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days after his ascension (Acts 1:5). And in verse 8, He assured them that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them, and they would be witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
On the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection and ten days after His ascension, the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, was fulfilled (Acts 1:3, 2:1-4). If Jesus had not died, resurrected and ascended, the Promise would not have been fulfilled.
7. His crucifixion and resurrection help believers to put their faith and hope confidently in God. “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God” (1 Peter 1:21 NLT).
The fact that Jesus promised to die and resurrect the third day (Matt 17:23, 20:19, 27:63; Mark 9:31, 10:34; Luke 13:32, 18:33, 24:7), and He was raised from the dead the third day, by His Father, provides sufficient ground to place one’s faith and hope confidently in God. That tells believers that the God that raised the dead the third day, is One that can be trusted for the fulfillment of the promises He has made. If He can raise the dead, there is nothing He cannot do.
Heb 11:35 says, by faith, women received their dead raised to life again. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). With God all things are possible (Matt 19:26).
8. Jesus’ ascension, after His death and resurrection, enabled the church to receive ministry gifts. “Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’ — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:8-12 NKJV).
The church is compared to the human body consisting of many parts; all the parts don’t perform the same function (1 Cor 12:12-31). There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord (verses 4-5). “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others” (Romans 12:3-5 New Living Translation).
After His ascension, Jesus gave to the church ministers with different gifts to perform different functions, all targeted at achieving the same goal of building up the saints for ministry work. Each person must use the anointing God has given him, as a good steward. Believers must also open up to the ministry of the different gifts in the body of Christ.
9. The flogging of Jesus, before His crucifixion, made divine healing available to believers. After Pilate couldn’t find Jesus guilty of any offence, he released Barabbas, in order to please the crowd. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, and then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify Him (Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1). The flogging of Jesus was a fulfillment of the scriptures. “The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long” (Ps 129:3 NKJV). Prophet Isaiah had also prophesied, “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isa 50:6 NKJV).
1 Peter 2:24 says, “He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!” (NLT) This is a reference to the prophecy of Prophet Isaiah. “But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!” (Isa 53:5 NLT)
The stripes that Jesus received are not in vain. They were for our healing. Jesus didn’t die only for the forgiveness of our sins. By His stripes, we were healed. He suffered so that we may be healed.“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins — that he was suffering their punishment?” (Isa 53:7-9 NLT)
Conclusion: If you’re born again and you’re already enjoying the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection I’ve shared in this message, I rejoice with you. But you need to share with others the love of God for the world expressed in giving Jesus to die for humanity. Invite sinners to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Jesus He will by no means cast out (John 6:37).
If you’re not born again, I invite you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to Him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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