Devotional Word for Friday, December 25, 2020
Merry Christmas! This year has required radical changes to many aspects of our lives. It is good on this day to remember the coming of Christ. As we remember His birth, may we also remember the purpose for His coming. The Lord Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, took on flesh so that He might reconcile lost sinners to the Lord. The manner of the God’s reconciliation was the cross of calvary. So then, as we consider Christmas and the wonder of the season, let us also consider Easter and the Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection. Providentially today’s foray into the Heidelberg Catechism helps us do just that.
Question 45 asks, “What benefit do we receive from ‘the resurrection’ of Christ?” The answer says, “First, by His resurrection He has overcome death that He might make us share in the righteousness which He has obtained for us through His death. Second, we too are now raised by His power to a new life. Third, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.” That is a bit of a mouthful, but it is a glorious mouthful. As we think about the three benefits of Christ’s resurrection which are listed, let us think through the lens of the narrative of the woman at the well.
Remember that Jesus is in an area of Samaria and that Jewish and Samaritan folks do not get along. Jesus is at a well and is thirsty and a woman of rather low social standing comes to get water. Jesus and the woman engage in conversation and speak a bit about worship. Jesus also speaks into the sins of the woman. The woman brings the town to Jesus to hear Him speak. Many in the town believe as a result of Jesus’ words and the testimony of the woman. In this wonderful exchange, after Jesus had asked for water from the woman and she expressed amazement, He said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” He goes on to describe the water in this way, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Jesus is promising by virtue of Himself and His ministry eternal life. What if Jesus had lived a perfect life without sin and died for us but was not raised from the dead? Then His death would have been meaningless. If Jesus did not have the power over death, He would not be able to give life to any other. This is the first benefit listed in answer 45. Jesus’ resurrection shows His power over death. Since He has overcome death which is a result of sin, He has really truly accomplished everything He has promised to do (which includes forgiving our sins). Second, those who believe in Him, including the woman at the well, are raised to a new life. This is to say that the accomplishment of Christ’s resurrection actually justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies His followers. It means we live a new creation life as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5 or Galatians 2. Finally looking ahead to our own death and resurrection, the resurrection of Christ acts as a surety and comfort to our souls. We can have full confidence that we will as Christ be raised from the dead never to die again. On this Christmas day, let us all remember not just the coming of Christ but also His work whereby our hope in life and in death is made secure. Let us pray.