The Week after Easter: When Sin and the Resurrection Collide
As believers, we are reminded afresh of the full forgiveness of our sins through the death and resurrection of Christ. The good news of the gospel never gets old to the heart of a redeemed sinner because we never stop needing grace. We know that never-ending grace is ours because of our Savior’s empty tomb.
Sin is not a popular topic to discuss in our world today. Our culture has virtually banished sin out of its vocabulary. Sin has been re-defined, re-labeled, re-directed, and even revered. People who sin are not sinners because nearly everyone is a victim.
The reality, though, is that you can erase sin from a culture, but you can’t erase guilt. There is the sense that all human beings have that we are guilty of doing wrong. We are born into this world having been created in the image of God, and because we live in God’s world as creatures who bear His image, we can never escape the reality of our guilt because of our sin.
What has been so fascinating and so tragic to watch over the past several years is that the more the world has tried to deny the reality of sin, the greater the guilt they feel. We can see the reality of that all around us. Wokeness, social justice, anti-racism, virtue signaling, false religions, vague forms of spirituality, mindfulness, psychology, and more – all attempting to do one thing: erase the guilt we feel over our sins and make us feel like we are good, righteous people. But all of these attempts at self-justification are ultimately futile and useless.
The real tragedy is that they don’t work at the spiritual level. Denying your sins will never erase your sins before a holy and just God. The real problem we have as sinful human beings isn’t that our existential happiness is hindered by sin; it’s that we are destined for an eternity under the wrath of God because of our sin. This is the tragedy of denying your sin; simply wishing it away or pretending your sin is virtue doesn’t deal with the problem of the wrath of God abiding on you. And you know that in your conscience, and you can’t escape it no matter what you do.
It’s into this setting of a world of sinners in need of real forgiveness from God that Mark begins the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Mark tells his readers from the outset that he has good news to share with sinful people about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. He ensures we understand at the outset of his Gospel that Jesus has come into this world to defeat Satan by bringing forgiveness to sinners. The miracles, the healings, the casting out of demons are external signs of a spiritual truth, that Jesus has the authority to do the most important thing for us that we need: to forgive our sins. That’s the good news of the gospel that Mark is writing about.
As this Gospel progresses, we learn in Mark 10:45 exactly how Jesus is going to provide forgiveness for our sins. He will do it in the most degrading manner possible, by giving His life for sinners on a cross. There’s one detail, though, that Jesus includes in Mark 10:34 that will vindicate Jesus’ claim that His sacrifice was accepted by God and brought forgiveness to sinners: He would rise again three days later.
Here, we come face to face with the most crucial fact of all: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.