The Reality of the Resurrection
In just a matter of days, Christians all across the world are going to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus--That glorious and momentous event of a rolled away stone, an empty tomb, and a conquering Savior defeating humanity’s greatest adversary, Death. Although many would try to cast doubt on whether or not the Resurrection ever took place, the historical fact is Christ has really risen, and he has risen indeed.
To the believer, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is everything. Without a risen Savior, the Apostle Paul says that “your faith is futile and you are still dead in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). In essence without the resurrection, there is no gospel to believe, no Church to belong to, and no reason to be a Christian. Truthfully, if there is no resurrection, Paul goes on to say that Christians are most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:19) because without that glorious event our faith simply doesn’t make any sense and we are all fools for believing it.
Why is the Resurrection so vital to Christianity? I mean Buddha and Muhammed have died and it doesn’t seem to dissuade people from believing in Buddhism or Islam. What is the big deal about Christ being resurrected? The resurrection is important because, not only did it validate Jesus Christ’s claims of deity, but it also demonstrated the infinite power and authority that Christ possesses. Simply put, the grave couldn’t hold such an indestructible Christ. This is one of the reasons why Jesus is so unique and remarkable and why he stands in contrast to every world view. He is not simply just another guru or teacher speaking on metaphysical ideas, nor is he some political revolutionary or some leader of a movement. Political leaders die, along with their ideas and gurus and teachers also are very transient, but a resurrected Christ, who died once to never die again, that puts Jesus in a completely different category.
The resurrection also assures us of the promises of Christ. Jesus had promised that all who believe in him, that they would receive eternal life (Jn. 3:16), that even though they may die, yet they shall live (Jn. 11:25-26). Again, if Jesus Christ hadn’t risen, then all those promises such as forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God and eternal life would be null and void. Those promises in effect, died with him because he isn’t alive to dispense such hope to any and all who receive him. This is indeed what his closest followers thought when they saw him crucified. Here was the awaited Messiah of whom the Old Testament spoke about and now he was delivered into the hands of evil men, nailed to a Roman cross and died. A dead Messiah, they thought, was a defeated Messiah. Yet Christ wouldn’t stay dead for long, and the once dashed hopes would suddenly be rekindled and set ablaze in the hearts of his disciples upon the news of an emptied tomb.
Like the disciples in the 1st century the resurrection provides confidence to the believer today. In the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians too will share in a glorious resurrection like his. Think about it for a moment, if you knew that death has been conquered by Christ what risk or what cost is too great to make for him? In fact, Christians throughout history and the world have held onto this hope of resurrection that has strengthened them under the direst of circumstances and the severest of persecutions. A missionary once told me that as he was enduring a hard struggle on the field that the only thing that he could cling to was the reality that Christ had raised from the grave and that was enough to help him persevere.
The resurrection of Christ provides assurance, comfort and confidence to the believer. Assurance of the fulfillment of Christ’s promises and the confidence to know that Christ is indeed what he said he is—God in the flesh. The resurrection also is a great motivator to a life lived to the service of Jesus, because Death is dead, Christ Jesus lives, and we shall live with him forevermore.