The importance of Christ’s resurrection

Published 9:28 am Friday, April 22, 2011

Every spring, millions of people around the world acknowledge, in some fashion or another, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead some twenty centuries ago.

Sunrise Services, Passion Plays, Cantatas, etc. Modern society calls it “Easter.”

Christians celebrate Easter as a special annual event admitting the resurrection of Christ. Faithful children of God reflect upon the Savior’s resurrection every Sunday (the resurrection day; John 20:1ff) as they gather to worship God in the regular assembly of the church (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

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We should be grateful, however, that multitudes who usually are caught up in pursuits wholly materialistic: new outfits, the Easter Bunny, decorating trees in one’s yard, will take at least some time for reflection upon the event of the Savior’s resurrection. Thus, most Christians believe it is entirely appropriate that Christians take advantage of this annual event.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation of the Christian system (1 Corinthians 15:14ff). If there was no resurrection, Christianity is a deception, and we are wasting our time. But the truth is, the event of Jesus’ resurrection is unquestionable.

Professor Thomas Arnold of Rugby, a world-renowned historian, once said that Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the “best-attested fact in human history” (1939, 2569). This being the case, just what is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? Think about these matters.

First, the resurrection is one of the major evidences that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Paul affirmed that Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).

Second, Jesus’ resurrection represents an assurance that we can have forgiveness from our sins. Paul contended: “[I]f Christ hath not been raised, our faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The reverse of the apostle’s affirmation would be this: if Jesus was raised, sins will be forgiven when we obey the gospel (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

Third, the resurrection tells the world that the kingdom of God is ruled by a living sovereign.

The founder of Islam is dead and his bones lie hidden in the earth. But the founder of Christianity, sixty years after his death, appeared to John on the island of Patmos and said: “I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:17-18).

Fourth, Jesus’ resurrection proves that physical death is not the termination of human existence. God, who is the giver of life (1 Timothy 6:13), has the power to resurrect the human body. Christ’s triumph over the grave is Heaven’s pledge to us that we too shall be raised. This is why Jesus is referred to as the “firstfruits of them that are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20,23).

Fifth, the Lord’s resurrection previewed the ultimate victory of Christianity over all its enemies. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is depicted as a lamb that had been slain, but was standing again (5:6). This same Lord was “the lion of the tribe of Judah” that had overcome his foes (5:5). Christians too will overcome as a result of the Lamb’s sacrifice and victory over death (Revelation 12:11).

The resurrection of the Son of God should be a constant reminder to us of these wonderful biblical truths. We honor our Master’s victory over death—not once a year, but every week, as the Christians worship Him on a weekly basis.

Dr. Hoyt W. Allen, Jr is executive director of the KYOWVA Evangelistic Association