THE RESURRECTION MATTER.
Scriptures: On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1-3
Observations: 3 REASONS THE RESURRECTION MATTER By Brian G Hedges. The resurrection of Jesus (alongside his crucifixion) is the central historical event in the Christian faith. Without the resurrection there would be no Christianity. “If Christ has not been raised,” wrote St. Paul, “then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14) I am [we are] Christians because we believe in the resurrection. I am convinced that after dying a violent death on a Roman cross on a Friday afternoon in [about] 30 A.D, Jesus of Nazareth came back to life and emerged from the tomb on Sunday morning. This is not easy to believe. But if it is true, it is the most pivotal event in human history. Much has been written in defense of Jesus’ resurrection, the most thorough and convincing book being N. T. Wright’s massive 800-page volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God.
What is unquestionable is that the first generation of Jesus’ followers did believe he had risen, and were convinced that everything had changed as a result. Consider just three of the ways the New Testament highlights the significance of the resurrection are:
- Jesus’ resurrection means that his sacrificial death on the cross was sufficient, and therefore our sins can be forgiven. Paul emphasizes this in 1 Corinthians 15, reminding us that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (vv. 3-4). Then, in verse 17, he argues that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
In other words, Paul saw a direct connection between the resurrection of Jesus and the sufficiency of his death to atone for our sins. When Jesus rose again on the third day, it was the public announcement that God was fully satisfied with the sacrificial death of his Son. In his resurrection, Jesus was vindicated (1 Timothy 3:16). But in his vindication, we are vindicated too. That’s why Paul says in Romans 4 that Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
- Jesus’ resurrection means that death is defeated once and for all. As Peter proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost, “God raised [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). Death lost its grip on Jesus.
- Jesus’ resurrection means that the world matters to Him. The resurrection means that Jesus not only defeated death for himself, but that he defeated it for us. He died and rose as a new representative for humanity, as the Second Adam.
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,” writes Paul, “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). His resurrection guarantees ours. Perhaps no one has said this more eloquently than C. S. Lewis. In his 1947 book Miracles, Lewis wrote: “The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits,’ the ‘pioneer of life.’ He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation: a new chapter in cosmic history has been opened.” The empty tomb assures us that sickness and suffering, death and disease will not have the final word. Lest there be any misunderstanding, when the apostles said that Jesus rose again, they meant that his physical body came back to life. The risen Jesus wasn’t a phantom or ghost, but a breakfast-eating, flesh-and-bone, [glorified] human being (see Luke 24:36-43 and John 21:10-14).
Application: Try your very best to thoughtfully read the whole of 1 Corinthians 15. It is an amazing chapter, especially if you spend a good time pondering it.
Prayer: As you need to, praise Him and thank Him for all He has done.