Easter is truly a joyous time of the year. However, we should be careful lest this event becomes or remains an historical event unrelated to our day-to-day living. Resurrection is not only an event that took place two thousand years ago, but a truth and reality to be experienced on a moment-to-moment basis by believers in Christ. Should we look at resurrection as an event objectively and wait for a future physical experience, we will be very disappointed. As much as the work of the Cross has to be a real experience in the life of a believer, resurrection should also be a real experience.
The Cross and resurrection are two sides of the same coin. For a believer in Christ to be brought to full maturity, these two elements need to be a daily experience. Without death there is no resurrection. Therefore, as of necessity, God allows death -the death of the Cross- to be applied in our lives so that the resurrection can also become an experience. It is along the lines of this truth that the apostle Paul says, “. . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (II Cor. 4:10,11). I just want to call your attention to three expressions which stand out in the above passage: we who live, always, and death/life. I think the message is quite clear: this is not a resurrection after death, for the apostle says “we who live”. Nor is it a one-time experience, for he says “always”. Finally, it is the victory of resurrection life over death.
So what are we celebrating at Easter? The victory of a life that has overcome death and has now been passed on to us to become our daily experience, which is preparing us for the final scene of the victory of resurrection life at the second coming of the Lord Jesus for His saints. Our participation in the final battle is very much dependent on our present daily experience of the Cross and resurrection life which is the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus we should be mature and ready for the second coming of the Lord for His saints. We neither prophesy, as some do, that the second coming will be tomorrow, nor do we put it off as something very very distant. We know that the coming of the Lord is near. When? We do not speculate, as it is not the work of the church to speculate. However, it is the work and the responsibility of the church to educate, help, and lead believers to maturity and prepare them for the second coming of the Lord.