He is Here Because He is Not Here
One of the great blessings of being a child of God is the promise that our Lord is with us. With all the turmoil in the world, we can hold onto the Rock of salvation, for He has never failed a promise. “He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ’The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5b-6). He is always interceding for us, as the writer again says, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
He is here because He is not here. How does that work? The truth is that Jesus Christ is here for us now because of the truth of the statement that begins with, “He is not here …” Can you finish the statement?
“He is not here, but He has risen” (Luke 24:6). “He has risen.” There are no greater words of hope. No greater cause for joy. No more wondrous power exhibited. “He has risen.” He arose never to die again, and by that resurrection we have the hope of eternal life. As the passage says, He always lives to make intercession. He is here with us because He is not here, raised to take His throne in heaven and provide us with the help we need. We may draw near to Him because of His death and resurrection.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16).
By His resurrection, we know that we can conquer death, the last great enemy, and “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). Jesus rendered powerless the one who had the power of death and provided freedom from the slavery of sin (Heb. 2:14-15). Through His resurrection, we may appeal to God for a good conscience as we are baptized into His death (1 Pet. 3:21). We can immediately share in the power of the resurrection as we rise up with Him to walk a new life (Rom. 6:3-5). We may know the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of His power all because of the “working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:19-21).
Jesus, the lamb of God, has taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Yet the plan all along was not just to die, but to be raised up again. Herein lies our hope.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
This also means that we have a responsibility to live a life consistent with being raised up with Christ. If we have been raised up with Christ, forgiven of our sins, then we must keep seeking the things that are above where He is. We must set our minds on things above. We must put away the old person who is corrupted and sinful. We must put on that new person who reflects the resurrected Christ (Col. 3:1-10). In Christ there is no more power of death. We worry so much about the end of life, but let's challenge ourselves as God's people. We know that we won't stay here forever, but our desire is not focused on maintaining a corrupted body and worldly existence. Rather, we groan for that which we cannot see, that which is not made with hands but is eternal in the heavens where our mortal bodies will be swallowed up with life (2 Cor. 4:17-5:8).
He is here because of the truth demonstrated so long ago: “He is not here but He has risen.” Thanks be to God who carried out His grand plans for our salvation!