Opinions on faith and life

Resurrection

2007-04-01

The resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead was, both Biblically and historically, the most important event that ever took place. I’ve already written about the technical proofs for this event having happened, but now I’d like to focus on its impact.

Our modern calendar derives its starting point from this event. Sure, we now know it’s a few years off, and some have decided to use other terms to replace “BC” (before Christ) and “AD” (anno domini, Latin for “the year of our Lord”), but no matter what they call it, it refers to the Resurrection. There are other calendars in use in various parts of the world, but no one can deny that the western one dominates. Yet this is in spite of the fact that the west has abandoned God and done everything it can to erase the Resurrection from memory.

And it is this resurrected Jesus who has been the motivation for evangelism. Christian missionaries have endured great suffering and martyrdom just because they believe that Jesus is alive. Christians in Muslim and Hindu countries allow themselves to be hated and killed, not because they are loyal to a tribe or a creed, but because their Savior lives. Those of us who have enjoyed freedom to believe as we please are motivated by this same living Jesus to spread the gospel so that everyone can be saved and be with Him.

But so what, many people say. What difference does it make if Jesus rose from the dead? After all, some were raised in the Old Testament and others were raised by Jesus before he was.

For one thing, the Savior was predicted as far back as the Garden of Eden as being the one who would crush Satan. And the great prophet Isaiah described the Messiah’s first coming and suffering in uncanny detail in chapter 53:

1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected‚ a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. (NLT)

Jesus was not murdered; he voluntarily laid down his life to pay for all sin (John 10:18) in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. And he was the first to be risen permanently, in a new and immortal physical body.

But still, so what?

Because it all proves that Jesus is God in the flesh (1 John 4:2, Phil. 2:5-11), that the Bible alone is able to predict the future with pinpoint accuracy (Isaiah 46:9-10), and that there is no other Name by which people can be saved (Acts 4:12). In other words, the Resurrection is the final proof of who is the One True God and who has sealed Satan’s doom.

The question is, what will you do with this information? Since Jesus came as predicted and died for all sin, then rose from the dead, that means he is still alive and will return for us who wait for him. But for those who have not accepted Jesus, he will come as a fearful and powerful Judge. Who is Jesus to you, your Savior or your jailer? The answer to this question matters because it determines how you will spend eternity.

That’s “so what”.