Alive Again Today and Forever
In an act of supreme sacrifice, Jesus of Nazareth gave His life for all mankind. Yet the grave couldn't hold Him; He rose to life everlasting. What is He like today?
The apostle John was given a vision of the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:12-18:
"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
"His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!'" (NIV).
Jesus now lives forever as an eternal, immortal spirit being. John also tells us that His faithful followers, in the resurrection, will be like Him—"and everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).
Jesus now sits at the right hand of God the Father "with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him" (1 Peter 3:22, NIV). He is the living, active, Head of His Church (Colossians 1:18), and as "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29) He continually helps bring others to salvation in God's family.
How is He serving His brothers and sisters on earth? Remember that Christ is the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). One of the major themes of the book of Hebrews is to show how Christ carries out His sacred role as our High Priest (to learn more, see "The Tearing of the Temple Veil,").
Sin has seriously damaged the human race. "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4, KJV). Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and threatens our eternal reward. It is the implacable enemy of every human being and must be conquered. This is not easy and never has been.
But Christ knows what it is like to have human nature, to be tempted to sin, to be tempted to transgress God's spiritual law. "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
Christ did whatever was necessary to resist the pulls of the flesh and temptations to sin. He never underestimated them. He prayed and fasted, but mostly He continually relied on and looked to the Father for help.
By never once transgressing God's law, "He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). In contrast, sin has tainted us, and one of our major goals as Christians is to learn to overcome its entanglements. Yet we cannot do this apart from our Savior, who told us, ". . . Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Notice Hebrews 4:14-16: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession ['profession,' KJV]. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Christ is the author and captain of our salvation. "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession [with the Father] for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Christ sits at the Father's right hand "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24).
Through the gift of God's Spirit, Jesus figuratively lives again within converted Christians (Galatians 2:20), empowering us to live a new, godly life patterned after His life. Through His sacrifice and living again within us, we can be redeemed "from every lawless deed" and purified as "His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14).
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