2. The Inheritance of Easter
Easter celebrates the new identity and inheritance we have been given in Christ!
Every year, as spring emerges from winter and new growth blossoms around us, we celebrate Christ’s coming forth from the grave after three days in a tomb. But just as we might grow apathetic towards Spring after years of its dependable arrival, so we often lose our sense of wonder at the resurrection.
In our coolness, the pages of Scripture hold out third-day stories that parallel Christ’s resurrection, casting light on the significance of Easter and warming our affections to its realities.
One of these third-day stories is found in the book of Hosea. Here we find an account from the history of Israel, a nation of descendants from the line of Abraham.
Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.
God and Israel are joined in a covenant relationship, God pledging his love and loyalty to Israel and Israel pleading its love and obedience to God. God has endowed Israel with the calling to live as his light to the nations, and he has given them the Promised Land from which they might do so.
However, while God has remained faithful to Israel, Israel has continued to break their end of the covenant. They’ve turned from God to worship idols, and they’ve abandoned a life of moral integrity and justice.
At this point, God has a right to end the covenant and divorce Israel, but he loves his people too much. So, God sends the prophet Hosea to confront his people in their sin and point them back to him.
Hosea declares that Israel will have to face consequences for their sin: they will be conquered and carried away into exile from their land. Scattered afar, the Israelites will feel a loss of identity as the unified people of God. Barred from their homeland and temple, the Israelites will mourn the absence of their worship practices that embodied their calling to live as a holy nation.
But this is not the end. Hosea assures Israel that God’s judgment is purposed to lead to their restoration. “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him,” Hosea proclaims. One day, a day metaphorically described as the third day, God will gather his people and bring them home, restoring them to their identity and inheritance.
Foreshadowing Easter, this story and message from Israel’s history ultimately finds its fulfillment in Jesus:
Jesus took on Israel’s role, coming to earth and living as God’s perfect light to the world.
Jesus took on God’s judgment, dying for humanity’s sin in its place.
And then, Jesus embodied God’s promised restoration from the book of Hosea, rising from the dead on the third day.
After his resurrection, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, inheriting the name that is above all names (Hebrews 1:3-4).
In his great love, Jesus offers “third-day-restoration” to anyone who trusts in him as Savior. Those joined to him in faith are united to his death and resurrection. This means that Jesus’ identity and inheritance also become theirs! In Christ, Believers become the family of God, and they are promised a future where they will rule and steward God’s creation with him for all eternity. In Jesus, the longings of exile are satisfied.
1 Peter lays out the implications of this given identity and inheritance. It proclaims, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).” In our secure identity and inheritance, we are called to be living testimonies of God and his salvation!
In what specific ways can you offer praise to God for the ways your identity and hope in him have made a difference in your life?