Death with Christ, Raised with Christ

According to the Christian calendar, Easter is not just an event—the event of the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead—it is also a seven-week season that lasts until Pentecost. And there is biblical basis for Easter to be celebrated that way. After all, after the glorious resurrection of Christ, he appeared to his disciples “over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3) before ascending into heaven on the fortieth day. Only ten days later, the Holy Spirit descended upon them on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), marking the birth of the Church. Recognising that, the early Church included in its calendar the ascension of Christ and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, not only as an extended celebration of Christ’s resurrection but also as a way for Christians to live faithful lives which revolves around and patterns the life of the Lord Jesus.

Celebrating Easter not merely as a factual historical event but as an event in our lives restores the significance and power of Easter in our own lives. In his book Ancient-Future Time, Robert Webber writes, “Christ is the one in whom life and the new creation, the beginning again of our lives and all of creation, is assured. Our Easter calling is to let him live in us, to embrace by faith his new life, to let it take hold of us, to participate in him and his resurrection for the life of the whole world. In this way we are born again (John 3:3); we are made a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).” When we begin to understand what it means in Romans 6:3-4 that we who have been baptised into Christ have not only been baptised into his death but have risen with him into a new life, we begin to understand that baptism signifies the two sides of our spiritual life—death to sin and new life in the Spirit. For all who are baptised have joined themselves in union to Christ (Rom 6:5) and belongs to Him, enjoined to Him as a member of His body.

As we continue to celebrate the season of Easter in the next seven weeks, may we remember the Easter message that just as Christ has risen, so has all God’s people been raised. In view of this, let us constantly be reminded of our call to die to sin and live our life in the risen Christ.