The resurrection assures us that that forgiveness is real. That the way back Home is real.
The death of Jesus tells us the price that needed paid to make that happen. It brings into stark clarity how hopelessly bad things are. At the cross the Law took all it demanded. Forgiveness isn’t possible unless justice is satisfied. That’s the rub. That is why it is so important.
The resurrection tells us that the Father accepted that payment. The resurrection is the triumph of grace. The way to the Garden is open again. Your Homecoming is being prepared.
That is the new birth that Peter was talking about.
The Christian life is not free of troubles or trials. There are plenty. Those troubles are being used by God to get you prepared for heaven. You are being remade; remade in the image of Christ. There is work to the Christian life. But it is not working to earn, it is working to learn.
Good Friday teaches us the first big lesson that God wants us learning: that I am not, nor was I ever meant to be enough. The cross shows us where we end up on our own. The cross shows us the end of the line if we try to be enough on our own. If we are held accountable for our actions and have to pay for the sins we have made then we are in trouble, big trouble!
Easter assures us about the second and most important truth God that wants us learning: that Jesus is enough; and that in Him, though Him, and because of Him, you will always have enough. The resurrection means that Jesus was not just a good guy. His life was not just “more righteous than most,” it tells us that He was most righteous! He lived a life of loving His Father with all of His heart, soul, mind, and strength and loved His neighbor as Himself. And He lived it perfectly.
The cross teaches us that Jesus loved us enough. The more you need to forgive the more you need to love, because love is what it takes to make you willing to pay the price to forgive. Forgiveness is free for the offender but not for the giver, is it? There is always a cost to it. The higher the offense the higher the cost. What kind of love therefore was necessary for Jesus to be willing to step in and pay His Father what we owed? It was not a small price. It required God becoming a man. It required living a perfect and sinless life in world full of temptation, headaches, and heartaches, where He was misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, misjudged, and nailed to a cross. And that wasn’t the worst of it. He had to suffer the justice of God for us. It wasn’t the cross that made Jesus cry “My God, My God why have You forsaken me?” It was experiencing the justice of God, the wrath of God for all our sin.
The good news of Easter is, because Jesus prayed that prayer His children never need to. Because Jesus entered that truly God-forsaken place, Christians will never have to go in. If there is one sure description of Christians, it is that they are a people who are never forsaken by God. You can have complete assurance and peace knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you because Jesus prayed a prayer that will never be necessary for any Christian to pray ever again.
Because truth was not compromised, grace now runs free to the Bullock’s of the world (and in case you are wondering, we are all Bullock). All that is needed to get it is to see that grace and truth that the Father offers through Jesus, and accept it. If the Father has opened your eyes to see it, take it. It is His free gift of love to you. And all that guilt and shame from the bad things you have done which hound, accuse, and imprison you will be gone. You will be free. You can come Home.