Cross My Heart and Hope to Live
by Alan Allegra 5/09/2014 / Holidays
When I was a kid, we would seal a promise by saying, "Cross my heart and hope to die! Stick a needle in my eye!" Actually, I don't recall the last part, but I've heard it on Laverne and Shirley enough to think it's valid.
I recently spoke at a luncheon on a very auspicious day: April 15. What comes to mind on that day? This year, it was Tax Day and Passover. It was also the anniversary of our home mortgage. In addition, it was between Good Friday and Easter. The message was an oratorical quilt, displaying the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the thread that ties these dates together.
It was an appropriate season to meditate upon the resurrection, but such consideration should not be limited to a sunny day in spring. The importance of Jesus' victory over death affects every promise in the Bible and every aspect of the Christian life. In fact, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the entire Bible is less than worthless. As the apostle Paul said, "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
On the other hand, if Christ's self-propelled exit from the grave after three days is true, the entire Bible must be true, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2 Corinthians 1:20 [KJV]). If Jesus is not alive, then all the promises of the Word of God are as empty as the bread aisle before a snowstorm.
The first promise of the Bible was given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." This is the promise that Jesus would eventually defeat Satan. That would mean nothing were Jesus not alive today.
The last promise in the Bible is, "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" The return of Christ to rule and reign forever is the hope of the world. That would not mean much if there were no living Jesus to return; the world would continue to decline and life would be meaningless.
In between those bookend promises are a plethora of personal promises that would be vain words were the resurrection untrue. The most personal is probably the most familiar: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This is the forgiveness of sins, which can only be true if the Judge and Great High Priest is still alive (Acts 17:31; Hebrews 2:17).
Good Friday was the day Jesus died to pay for our sins (1 Corinthians 1:18). Passover was a picture of the escape provided by his blood (1 Corinthians 5:7). Tax Day is when we pay what is owed (Romans 13:7). Mortgage Day was particularly delightful for us, because our mortgage is paid off. When Jesus died on the cross, he said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). The original word was used to indicate a debt paid in full, like a mortgage. The death of Jesus stamped our sin debt "Paid in full!" and his resurrection was the proof that the debt we owed was paid. "It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:24 - 25).
Because Jesus is alive, those who believe will also live (John 14:19). Every time you read a promise in the Bible, you can shout, "Yea and amen!"