He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Rom. 4:25)

SOMETIMES WE ACT AS IF the resurrection were simply the cherry on top of the gospel, a happy but ultimately unnecessary ending to Jesus’ story. After all, we think, the cross is where He really reconciled us to God and paid the penalty for our sin. The resurrection means that the whole story ends up nicely, we think, but is not strictly necessary.

The earliest Christians would have disagreed. For them, Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection went together, and it was their combined impact that saves us and heals our relationship with God. This passage gets at that. Paul highlights the resurrection, that Christ was raised to life for our justification, so that we could be right with God. Paul says we would be, of all people, most to be pitied without the resurrection. This event shows us a world beyond the one we can see and reassures us that we can live without fear here because God has prepared a home for us.

We used to visit my grandparents every Easter. The trip seemed impossibly long when I was a boy—seven hours! But the thought of arriving at a cozy home made the trip a joy. I knew we were on the way somewhere good. The resurrection reminds us that we’re on the way home. Though the journey isn’t always easy, the destination is good.

Spend two minutes thinking about heaven.

Michael Jordan is the dean of the chapel at Houghton College, where he also serves as chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Theology and Philosophy.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.