This weekend, I have asked myself this question.
Am I more grateful for the cross, or for the empty tomb?
There are a bazillion reasons why I treasure the cross, because without it, I would not be able to stand before the throne sinless in the eyes of God. Without it, I would never be worthy to communicate with the Father or have a relationship with Him or His Son. The cross made redemption possible. The cross demonstrates the utmost example of forgiveness. It trumps the raising of Lazarus. It far exceeds the healing of the ten lepers. It beats the story of the good Samaritan. Because sin created death and disease, and only Someone kind and gracious enough to overlook deliberate sin against Himself would even think to make a way to redeem His violators. And not just any kind of redemption… but the sacrifice of His only Son. I am overwhelmed to think of the great love He must have for me.
And yet, the tomb. The empty grave. It means that He was more powerful than death, and simultaneously more powerful than any sin or temptation I face. He was able to overcome the consequences of sin. The cross saved humanity from sin, past and present, but if He didn’t live and I had to pray to a dead Savior, I don’t think I would have any motivation to honor Him with my life. But, because He lives, I, too, can live. I can have a wild love affair with the God of the universe! I can have instant access to His throne.
And, as if redemption of past and present sins wasn’t enough, the very One Who died for me is sitting right now at the right throne of God, interceding on my behalf.
I don’t deserve the half of it.
It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive.
Yet… I decide how alive I will be. I can trap myself in the claws of religion, trying to be perfect and never mess up. Trying to live above the law and be spotless and somehow gain favor. Creating rules for myself that I can never live up to.
But Jesus simply says, “Come.”
I can discourage myself in the ways I don’t measure up and the failures I commit daily.
But He says, “Come.”
I can beat myself up over my past and try to work harder to make up for it.
The invitation is unwavering, steady, steadfast.
I am undeserving, but to refuse Jesus after all He has done for me would be the utmost rejection. And so I allow myself to be deserving. I stop telling myself I’m unworthy because Jesus made me accepted into the beloved.
I choose to put aside all my shortcomings and weaknesses and focus on His strength. I choose to live in His light instead of wallowing in my darkness. What does that look like? It means resting. Not rushing and doing and trying and judging and losing. But resting. In Who He is. In Who He says I am.
The empty tomb means being alive.
The resurrection was a stand-alone event. Never before, and never again. But it doesn’t end there. The power continues because He is still alive. Right now. It is a state of being, not something in the past.
And so it is with me. I do not focus on what I do, but on who I am. Not of works, lest any man should boast. I will boast in Jesus crucified, and risen again. I am alive. I don’t need to try to act alive and prove to everyone that I am.
Because. I. Just. Am.
Alive in Christ.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite. The cross and the tomb both hold equal significance for me. The cross excommunicated my former identity, and the grave instituted my new identity.
Living, He loved me.
Dying, He saved me.
Buried, He carried my sins far away.
Rising, He justified, freely forever.
It’s high time we declare our identity.