There is no resurrection without death. There was no glorious Resurrection Sunday Morning for Jesus without the pain of the cross on Good Friday. For us to experience the freedom and abundant life that Jesus came to bring us, we have to die first.
I wish there was a way around this. Most of us want to have the new, abundant life without having to go through the pain and suffering of death. Whether it’s our selfish motives or just not understanding this spiritual truth – we often would like the blessings of Christ without the sacrifice of self. Not possible. To experience the resurrection, you have to die first.
What’s being killed? Our flesh. Our selfish, earthly, sinful selves that is prone to wander and be an affront to God. He is holy. Our unholiness cannot co-exist with Him. It must die because our flesh is in conflict and is contrary to the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 says,
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Death by crucifixion. It’s painful and takes a long time. Maybe Jesus didn’t die and shed His blood by sword because that would have been too quick and, relatively speaking, pain-free. God delivers a message to us about the gravity of sin through the crucifixion. In this Jesus also serves as our example, that our own crucifying of the flesh will be painful and not very quick. It takes time to put the flesh to death.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:1-10)