WE SHARE BOTH IN JESUS’ DEATH AND IN HIS RESURRECTION
(A biblical refection on HOLY SATURDAY/EASTER VIGIL – 31 March 2018)
One of the various readings at the Easter Vigil: Romans 6:3-11
The Scripture Text
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3-11 RSV)
Death and life – What a stark contrast we have on the Holy Saturday! We pass through a day in the liturgy where all is silence. As the day begins, many of our churches will be bare – the tabernacle empty as we share liturgically in Jesus’ death and burial. Yet as the Easter Vigil begins this evening, we will be introduced once again into the fullness of life through His resurrection to glory. Tonight, our churches will be resplendent with new life and beauty. The contrast in the course of a single day is great indeed.
In a passage that will be read tonight at the Easter Vigil, Saint Paul teaches us that we share both in Jesus’ death and in His resurrection. Our own baptism is itself a paradox of life and death. Through baptism into Jesus’ death on the cross, we die to sin. And, through the same baptism into His resurrection, we too are raised to a new life in His Spirit. What a glorious contrast our life is meant to be! As we die every day to self and sin, we receive new life through the power of Jesus’ resurrection. The life of the risen Lord is in us because we have been baptized into Him. His power is within us to change us. By His Spirit, we can begin to live a new life.
Holy Saturday is an excellent opportunity for us to seek this new life by spending time in prayer and reading God’s word. As much as we are able, let us make this a day of seeking God in silence and waiting. Let us anticipate the gift of new life that we will receive tonight as we renew our baptismal vows and participate in the Easter liturgy.
Today is an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus and receive more of His life. Jesus has conquered sin, death, and Satan. We can experience the victory of His death and resurrection this day. We can expect tangible changes in our lives in the days and weeks ahead because we have received the power of the risen Jesus.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to share more deeply in Your life this day. Help me to overcome sin through the power of Your death and resurrection. Give me new life in the Holy Spirit! Amen.
Jakarta, 30 March 2018 [HOLY FRIDAY]
A Christian Pilgrim