Without Looking Back, We Lack Understanding

Here we are, just a few days from Good Friday and then on to Easter. I recently heard someone say that there is really no point in Christians remembering Good Friday, because we celebrate a risen Lord, not One who still hangs on the cross. 


True, we do celebrate a risen Lord, but may we never forget what He rose from…death. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). To the Roman believers, he wrote, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).


And so, we remember…and we celebrate. The 19th century Danish theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, once wrote, “Life is understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” This statement has no greater application than that of the cross and empty tomb of Jesus. 


We look back in order to move forward. We remember our redemption through Jesus’ death. “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). “How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath” (Romans 5:9). “And through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20).


And we remember our future through Jesus’ resurrection. “Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).


These co-joined events of Jesus—His death and resurrection—give us an understanding of life…true life. Our freedom from sin, the past, shame, and guilt are granted through Jesus’ death. Our hope for new life, eternity, and resurrection power are bestowed upon us through Jesus’ resurrection. This, my friends, changes everything. “Life is understood backwards.” Without looking back, we lack understanding. “But it must be lived forward.” 


The choice is ours. Because of the past events of Jesus’ life, we live forward into His Kingdom, which we pray will come here on earth as it is in heaven. We bear the joy-filled responsibility described by John Calvin, “The first duty of a Christian is to make the invisible kingdom visible.”


What does that resurrected life of the invisible kingdom look like in your marriage, with your children, in your job, and in your church? Let’s live forward into the Kingdom of God, because we look back into the most central events of human history, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.