If you received a check for a trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000), would you view that as good news? You might be initially overjoyed, but then you would remember that since no one on earth is a trillionaire, the check is no good. Precious promises without validation are meaningless.
Christ has given us many great promises about his death on the cross. In fact, they are so wonderful, so precious, that they make a trillion dollars look like pennies. Hear what he promises:
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus promises to purchase a people for himself, not with gold or silver, but with his own crushed body. Jesus’ death in our place is the ransom price that delivers us from our slavery and condemnation.
“The Son of Man must be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Jesus being lifted up—his death—promises eternal life. What’s eternal life? Jesus says later that it is to know the only true God, Jesus Christ. So, by his death, Jesus is not just promising that we would live forever, but that we would live forever in fellowship with the God of the Universe.
“This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). The cross doesn’t enable us to go into settlement court with God. We don’t offer God anything. By his shed blood, Jesus promises to forgive us all of our debts—not just the small ones, but all of them.
There cannot be more precious promises than the ones Jesus gives. But just like writing the trillion dollar check, anyone can make these claims. How can we know that Christ’s death really does redeem us, forgive us, and unite us with God forever?
We know it because Christ rose from the dead on the third day. Unlike Lazarus or the others in Scripture, Jesus was not just resuscitated. Lazarus and those others died again. But Jesus rose again from the dead, showed himself to hundreds of people, ate food, and ascended into heaven with his resurrection body. Jesus will never die again; he will live forever with his resurrected body.
So, when Jesus rose from the dead, that showed that Jesus is no longer under the curse of the law (death); he is now under God’s favor. God was pleased with Christ’s death for sin because he was an obedient, sinless sacrifice. “He was obedient to death, even death on a cross, THEREFORE God has highly exalted him.” The resurrection proves that the cross worked and that Jesus ALONE has the right to give life.
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18). The keys of death and Hades were hung, as it were, on the inside Jesus’ tomb. When he rose again, he grabbed those keys and frees from captivity all who call on him.
Therefore, because of Jesus’ resurrection, you can know that the valuable check of Jesus’ death, full of unspeakably precious promises, will not bounce. Whoever turns from sin and puts their faith in Christ and his work on the cross will most certainly be redeemed, forgiven, and united with God forever.