‘if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile’ (1 Corinthians 15:17 NIV)
The Christian faith stands or falls with Jesus’ resurrection. Yet it is not merely a doctrine to defend, it must make a practical difference to our Christian life. How is that possible? Here are some things to think about:
1. The resurrection of Jesus means He can be trusted.
Jesus told his disciples in advance that he would be crucified, would die and then rise again
(Matthew 16:21). If Jesus spoke truthfully regarding this, the greatest of all miracles, then it indicates that we can be sure that He is reliable in all things.
2. The resurrection of Jesus means our sins have been forgiven.
The death of Jesus was foreshadowed as the high priest went into the Holiest Place once a year, on the Day of Atonement, to offer a sacrifice for sin. The time the high priest was in the Holiest Place would have been full of tension: would he return or not? What joy there was when he reappeared and pronounced God’s forgiveness as the sacrifice had been accepted for one more year!
Jesus’ disciples had hoped He would be the Redeemer
(Luke 24:21), but Jesus had been buried behind a great stone, and for a couple of days there was no sign that he would reappear. But on the third day Jesus rose again. Just as the high priest’s reappearance from behind the curtain showed that his sacrifice had been accepted, Jesus’ reappearance in His resurrection proved that His final sacrifice for our sins had been accepted by God.
3. The resurrection of Jesus means new life is possible.
The Christian life is more than just believing certain things about Jesus, it is participation with him. Paul’s favourite way of describing what it means to be a Christian is the phrase ‘in Christ.’
That expression means that through faith we are united to Christ, the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, and all His resources are ours. Because Christ is risen, we live in Him, dependent on His living presence, drawing from our union with Him.
4. The resurrection of Jesus means the last enemy, death itself, is defeated.
Jesus broke the power of death once and for all:
‘God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’ (Acts 2:24) and as a result,
‘in Christ all will be made alive.’ (1 Corinthians 15:22). No wonder Peter could write:
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:3–4).
Father we praise you for Jesus’ resurrection, trusting that our sins are forgiven and that we have new life for all eternity.
Have a good week thank God for the resurrection of Jesus.