Easter Day! Time for new, springy clothes, a ham dinner, brightly colored eggs, and chocolate bunnies.
And the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
I’m not against those other things. I enjoy them all. But I do fear that the resurrection gets lost in the shuffle except for a special church service and hymns.
Even as Christians, sometimes we’re so used to the resurrection, we forget how special, how life-changing, how dynamic it is.
Or we might be comforted by the resurrection when a loved one dies, but we don’t think it affects everyday life much.
So I thought I’d spend some time thinking about just why the resurrection of Christ is important.
The resurrection of Christ proves His deity.
Set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:1b-4).
He has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:31).
The resurrection of Christ validated what He said. He foretold many times that He would rise after three days in the grave. Here are just a few:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Matthew 16:21).
As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed (Matthew 17:22-23).
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead (Mark 9:9).
The resurrection is part of the gospel. When Paul spoke of sharing the gospel, the resurrection was an integral part of it.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: 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 (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:22-25).
Without the resurrection, we’re still in our sins.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
I’ve heard some say to the unsaved, “If I’m wrong and you’re right, I’ve lost nothing. But if I’m right and you’re wrong, you’ve lost everything.” But that’s not what the Bible says. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Since Christ was raised, we know we will be, too.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits 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).
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John11:25).
Since we will all be raised, we will see our loved ones again.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
The resurrection removes death’s sting. Death is still grievous. It is still an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). But knowing that we’ll live again afterward and can meet God forgiven, cleansed, and accepted takes away death’s sting.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 54-57).
Because Jesus died and rose again, Satan is defeated.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (Romans 11-15).
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14-15).
The “rulers and authorities” mentioned in the last verse are thought to refer to Satan and his minions, the unseen “rulers of darkness.”
God’s power in the resurrection is the same power with which He works on our behalf.
That you may know . . . what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19-23).
Because of the resurrection, we can walk in newness of life.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
For 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. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:10-14).
Jesus’ resurrection gives hope and meaning to our suffering.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).
Because He died and rose again, we come to a throne of grace.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4: 14-16).
Because Jesus rose again, He is interceding for us.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34).
Because of the resurrection, we can be steadfast. After spending 57 verses talking about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, “Therefore”—because of all that he said in those 57 verses—
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In Isobel Kuhn’s Nests Above the Abyss, she says the Lisu “have no hope beyond the grave.” She had heard their wail “for the dead and my heart could hardly stand the hopelessness of their agony.” One five-year-old child screamed incessantly when his beloved neighbor died and he understood death for the first time. When he became a young man, he admitted, “after that awful introduction to the fact of death, he could not come upon a grave on the mountainside without getting cold all over.” This, Isobel says, is “a typical scene.” Another “cried so hard and so long he was ill for days” upon learning about death. Some who bury loved ones “sometimes weep themselves blind, and some lose their minds.” Some harden themselves by trying to forget their dead loved one.
That first five-year-old boy grew up to become an evangelist. One time he related his story, then told how he heard one of the missionaries speak on John 11:25, where Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”
“As she explained that verse, suddenly the truth of it broke in on my understanding, and the fact of eternal life, a life after death, a hope beyond the grave, shone before me. I was thrilled through and through; faith and acceptance of the Saviour were born right then in my soul. It was that verse on the resurrection that brought me to Christ; and I have a feeling that I am not the only Lisu to become a believer because of this truth. All of you who were led to become Christians by the resurrection doctrine, hold up your hands.” Ans all over the building hands shot into the air and the glowing joy on their faces told its own story (pp. 16-18).
May those of us who have heard of the resurrection all our lives be impressed anew with its truth, its hope, its victory. May we come to love and appreciate it now more than ever. May the resurrection impact us not just at Easter, but every day.
And may those who have not yet believed do so soon.
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