WE HAVE DIED WITH CHRIST
(A biblical refection on EASTER VIGIL, 26 March 2016)
One of the various readings at the Easter Vigil: Romans 6:3-11
The Scripture Text
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3-11 RSV)
When Jesus died on the cross that Friday afternoon, He did not die alone. He took with Him our fallen nature, our old self that had so stubbornly resisted God’s love and plan. There on the cross with Him, this nature was put to death forever. Jesus took the punishment we deserved so that we could be made ready to receive the new life of Easter morning.
Because the sinless one suffered the fate of sinners, the original curse was broken. God’s children were restored to their heavenly Father and enabled to live by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! Jesus’ death and resurrection opened heaven to all who would believe in Him – a hope for life in Him after death, and a reality to begin tasting here and now.
Did the apostles fully understand all this when it happened? Undoubtedly not. Some were quick to believe in the resurrection, while others doubted. But they all needed further enlightenment to understand God’s intentions. This is why Jesus spent so much time with His friends after Easter. He wanted to help them understand His Father’s mind. Soon He would direct them to wait for the gift that His Father would send: the Holy Spirit. It was this Spirit who would lead them after Jesus was gone and empower them to live His new life.
How blessed we are to live now, after all these wonderful interventions of God have taken place! We have not only heard of what Jesus accomplished: We have it available to us through the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit longs for us to know Jesus and the Father personally. He longs to usher us more deeply into a life of “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1) and an abundance of grace. Heaven is opened to us, and we can understand divine mysteries through prayer and revelation.
Because we have been forgiven, we can forgive. We can love with the very same love God has poured out on us. Most importantly, dear Sisters and Brothers, we can worship and adore our Creator – all because Jesus has conquered death and risen to new life!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to accomplish all that was in Your heart for us. Jesus, I owe You everything. Holy Spirit, teach me how to walk in this newness of life. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Jakarta, 25 March 2016 [GOOD FRIDAY]
A Christian Pilgrim