Theme of the Week: Why Easter Changes Everything
Bible Verse: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21; Luke 12:16-19
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a young man who fell in love with his own reflection the first time he saw it while bending down to take a drink from a pond. He kept plunging his arms into the water, trying to clasp the neck he saw there.1
Unfortunately, some of us adopt this as our approach to life. We become narcissists who are self-absorbed and self-centered. We love ourselves so much that our interests, our needs, our desires, and our concerns completely shape the way we spend our time, money, and talent.
Jesus’s death and resurrection make it possible for us to live for someone greater than ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 5:14, the apostle Paul writes, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” There is a dispute as to whom Paul is referring in his three uses of “all” in verses 14–15.
If the reference is to believers in Christ, then the statement “therefore all died” in verse 14 refers to a believer’s death to sin’s penalty and to the self-life.2 The result is that those who live—that is, these believers in Christ—no longer live for themselves but for the crucified, resurrected Lord! Only those who are in Christ, through faith in him, live!
Once again, the death and the resurrection of Christ appear as twin elements of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3–8). We are not called to live for a dead Savior but a living One! This leads Paul to affirm: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are living creatures by virtue of our connection to the living Christ.
Paul writes: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:20–21)
Living for Christ means that we will live for others by sharing with them the message of reconciliation.
What person in your circle of relationships needs to hear this message?
1 Miller, Frank Justus and Gould, G. P., trans., Ovid III: Metamorpheses, Books I–VIII, third edition. Loeb Classical Library, no. 42 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977), 148–61. The “Echo and Narcissus” episode appears in book III. The scene where Narcissus sees his reflection on the pond appears on page 155.
2 Harris, Murray J., “2 Corinthians” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976).
Some content taken from Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything. Copyright © 2013 by Steven D. Mathewson. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
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