The Importance of the Resurrection of Jesus
The Resurrection of Jesus is an historic event attested to by many eyewitnesses. (Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay)
Not every situation or event is of great importance. Some make little difference at all. But other events are not only historic in nature but have life changing consequences. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is just such a life changing event. The problem is that there are still many people today who do not recognize the vast importance of this event.
As the Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he took an entire chapter (1 Corinthians chapter 15) to impress upon everyone just how important the resurrection truly is for all people.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 begins by stating that the resurrection is An Indisputable Fact. Taking a step away from the Bible for a moment and examining the evidence for this event, it can clearly be stated that the resurrection of Jesus is the most attested to fact in all of history.
Many over the years have tried in vain to disprove this event, but all have failed.
Lee Strobel was one such individual who began as an atheist and ended his search believing in Christ. In fact, there are many extra-biblical documents that make statements regarding the resurrection (from Josephus to Tacitus).
Paul does not argue from archeology or other documents. Instead, he sticks to the Bible.
In these eleven verses he begins in verses 1-4 by reminding his readers that even the Old Testament predicted this event. Then in verses 5-11 Paul mentions six (6) eyewitnesses to the resurrection. He names Peter and the rest of the Apostles; the original 12 disciples; James the brother of Jesus; himself; and a crowd of over 500 people at once.
Individuals may be disputed, but it is difficult to deny the testimony of over 500 people (even though some have tried over the years, as one critic claimed they all had eaten bad mushrooms and just happened to have the very same “trip”).
But apart from those that Paul mentions, the Gospels tell us that women were the first to the empty tomb and the first to see the risen Christ. The significance of this is that in that day, women were prevented from testifying in court. So, no one in their right mind would credit women as the first witnesses. Yet all four Gospels document this fact.
Next, in verses 12-19 Paul takes the time to explain just how important the resurrection is to those of us who believe.
The resurrection is Indispensable to Our Faith.
Paul states that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then all that is preached, all that is promoted, and even the bedrock foundation of Christianity is built upon a lie and is completely false. Paul also states that if Jesus did not rise again, then we have every right to be afraid of death like everyone else. Because if Jesus did not conquer death, then we have no hope of living on after this life is over either. He ends this section by drawing the conclusion that if the resurrection is not true, we as Believers should be pitied more than anyone else because our lives are grounded on nothing but lies.
Not only is the resurrection an Indisputable Fact and Indispensable to Our Faith, but it is also an Irresistible Force in Our Lives.
In verse 20 Paul states that despite those who refuse to believe, Christ has indeed been risen from the dead! This gives us, as His followers, a Vision. In verses 21-24 Paul calls Jesus the Firstfruit.
In Judaism the Feast of Firstfruits is held each year and the first and best of the crop is given over to God. By giving the first to God, there is a hope and assurance that more will be provided. Here Paul reminds us that if Jesus rose from the dead, so too shall we someday.
This life is not all there is!
Later in verse 57 Paul praises God that we have Victory in Christ. Jesus claimed victory over death, and He has given us that same assurance. Death has lost its sting because Jesus has risen from the grave. If we do not have to fear death, what else is there that we as Christians should be afraid of ?
In verse 58 we are told that because Jesus is alive, we have a new Vitality. We serve a risen Savior, One who is with us at all times. By the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, He now gives us the motivation and strength to be steadfast and immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord. In other words, we know that what we do here on Earth will be rewarded by Jesus in Heaven.
Not long ago a poll was conducted among church goers. One of the questions asked, “What difference does the death and resurrection of Jesus make in your daily life?”
The results were a little surprising.
45% stated that it made no real difference in how they lived. Another 35% said that they do not know of any difference. Leaving only 20% who said that the fact that Jesus rose again makes all the difference in the world to how they live out each day.
Where would you fall in this poll?
How important is it to you that Jesus Christ died and rose again?
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With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Dr. Kevin D. Newman (Th.D., M.Div., M.A., B.S.) is the Academic Dean at Faith Bible College in Norfolk, VA. A graduate of Lancaster Bible College (PA), Biblical Theological Seminary (PA), and Conservative Theological Seminary (FL), Newman has served at colleges and churches in Baltimore, Maryland; Palmer, Alaska; Flagstaff, Arizona; and now Virginia.