What Did Jesus Kill?

An abortion represents a death. According to the World Health Organization, every year abortion robs life from an estimated 45 million preborn boys and girls globally; 800,000 in the U.S. and New York is the hub. Abortion is the story of 125,000 life and death battles fought every day, a living death for a mother caught in sin and a death more immediate for the child. The Church, through CompassCare, steps into the carnage because of the hope of redemption for a mother and her preborn baby.

Jesus’ resurrection tells the story of a death too, but not His. Jesus’ death represents an act of violence, but not primarily against Him. The cross of Christ is God at war, a war against the reign of sin and the law of death. Since death is the human norm, and sin causes death, then sin reigns. Jesus reverses all of that (Rom. 5:21). The cross is the greatest act of violence to end all violence. The resurrection does not point to the fact that Jesus was killed, but rather that it was Jesus doing the killing. If death has no power over Him, then He killed sin. Jesus’ resurrection is the dawn of a new era of life where sin and death are abolished. Our salvation is a death of sorts too, whereby Jesus ends our natural maturity into sin and death. But this death, like Christ’s, is the path to a new life: “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11b). And like the Apostle Paul, Jesus causes this to happen to us.

The abrupt and blazing self-disclosure of Jesus arrested Paul on the Damascus Road, ironically on his way to arrest other followers of Jesus (Acts 26:9-12). The glory of Jesus’ presence knocked Paul down and blinded him (Acts 26:13-14). Through this confrontation, Jesus delivered Paul from his dim and comfortable womb of sin and ignorance. All at once he was taken from a solitary kingdom of darkness and birthed into an unimaginable kingdom of light (Col. 1:13) – transferred, inalterably, into a new reality. Scales fell from the blind eyes of his heart (Eph. 1:18) in the healing presence of his Shepherd. His mind disoriented, his soul naked, his heart new, and there was nothing he could do about any of it. He was lost and found all at once, like a stillborn baby given life.

Paul referred to himself in this moment of redemption as one “untimely born” (I Cor. 15:8) or as some interestingly translate it, “traumatically born,” forcibly removed from the womb. Paul was birthed traumatically from death to life, Jesus abruptly terminating his maturation into sin, bringing him into the kingdom of God.

By presenting Himself to Paul, Jesus made him an eyewitness to His resurrection. The risen Jesus sums up salvation from sin and death. The resurrection is the exclamation point that the kingdom of God has come. Paul describes the simplicity of the Gospel with three basic principles: “that [1] Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that [2] He was buried, and that [3] He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3b-4). These three stones of truth pave the road for fallen man to enter the eternal kingdom of Heaven. But after this gospel distillation, Paul proceeds to spend the next nine phrases expanding only on truth number three, the resurrection, describing the six people or groups of resurrection eyewitnesses.

While the crucifixion is terrible, the fact that Jesus died is normal to human experience. But now there is a new, outrageous fact altering the ground of reality, giving hope where once there was none – the fact of Jesus’ personal and bodily resurrection. When the gavel of death was the final word, and our downcast eyes blinded by tears of powerless anguish looked into the fading darkness, there stands Jesus. Men dared not hope beyond death but now… sweet joy, because death is just a doorway, the planting of a seed – not the end, but the end of the beginning.

How did this happiness happen? Jesus became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). By nailing sin to the cross (Col. 2:14), God killed sin, thereby becoming Master over death, both His and of those who believe. In Christ we died and in Christ we too will rise (Rom. 6:8-9). This new no-death reality converts cowardly slaves of sin into courageous ambassadors of the King. The sun of a new era is rising, relinquishing the icy grip of the old domain of death to Jesus. He is sovereign over life and death too. And He is God. He changed Paul. He changes us. He is the one who transferred us out of the “domain of darkness” (Col. 1:13), “[causing] us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Pet. 1:3). So it is that we can “present [ourselves] to God as those alive from the dead, and [our] members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13b).

In Christ,

Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div.

P.S. Having been freed, let us continue partnering with Jesus to free women and their babies from death too.

“I Just Want to Put this Behind Me…”

Lily came to CompassCare a few months ago in the early stages of pregnancy suffering from hyperemesis, a debilitating condition of extreme nausea and vomiting. She felt physically drained – hopeless. On top of this, Lily had just left her abusive boyfriend and was worried this pregnancy would prevent her from moving on with her life. “I just want to put this behind me and feel better.” Read more.

The Shifting Abortion Battlelines – Abortion Tourism and a Rise in Chemical Abortions

The face of abortion is changing in two ways: geographically and demographically. The Church through CompassCare has a vision and plan to address the two emerging abortion dynamics by 1) building the pro-life service capacity in New York and 2) creating a telecare service platform, capturing abortion-minded patients before they get their mail-order abortion pills. Read more.

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