In this month we celebrate the defining moment of Christianity: the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus, from the dead. Not just a spiritual resurrection or “the rising of Jesus in our hearts,” but the actual coming back to life of Jesus physically. He came out bodily from the tomb, triumphant over death!
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Resurrection is the event upon which the reality of the Christian faith is based. Notice his strong words: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) Without the Resurrection, faith in Jesus would be empty, meaningless.
But Jesus was raised from the dead, and the Resurrection is full of meaning.
The Resurrection proves the deity of Jesus. Paul makes this clear in Romans 1:3-4, “regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus is fully man and fully God. As God, Jesus is worthy of worship and is surely able to save. The Resurrection proved Jesus of Nazareth to indeed be God.
The Resurrection points to a day of judgment. In the sermon Paul preached in Athens he made this point: “For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) One day God will judge the world—there will be a day of reckoning. The Resurrection is proof that this day is coming and it also reveals who the Judge will be—the crucified and resurrected Jesus of Nazareth!
The Resurrection shows that God can be trusted no matter what. Paul drew this encouragement from the Resurrection. “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9, emphasis added) Because God raised Jesus from the dead, Paul knew he could trust God even when he faced death. The Resurrection proves that God is absolutely trustworthy.
The Resurrection assures us that one day we, too, will be raised from the dead. In the great Resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives this truth: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (verse 20). He goes on to say “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (verses 21-23). Jesus was the first to be raised back to life in an immortal body. Because He was, believers in Jesus, too, will be. The Resurrection guarantees our resurrection.
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus is worth celebrating! “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”