The Resurrection of Christ

There are over three hundred references that relate to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. therefore it must be considered as a vital element of the faith of a Christian. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8). The Resurrection of the Lord is too important to dismiss or neglect. Those who do so not only bring God’s wrath upon them but also rob others of the fulness of the truth. A Christ who is not physically resurrected from the dead is really no Christ at all.

The apostle Paul proves that the Resurrection is indispensable to the Christian’s life and faith. In 1 Corinthians 15 he explains the significance of the Resurrection:

a) If Jesus was not raised from the dead then Christianity is a false religion, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (:14). This of course mean that the Gospel writers lied about Christ rising from the dead. How can a true religion be built upon lies?

b) If Jesus was not raised from the dead then the message we preach concerning salvation in Christ is false, “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not” (:15).

c) If Jesus was not raised from the dead then there is no forgiveness of sins, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (:17).

d) If Jesus was not raised from the dead then we have no hope of eternal life, “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (:18), for it means that we too will not be raised up but are destined for eternal separation from God, “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised” (:16).

e) If Jesus was not raised from the dead then in reality we are the most foolish people who have ever lived, for we have built our confidence upon deception, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (:19).

f) If Jesus was not raised from the dead and we are believing a lie, then we might as well live as we please in this world because we are doomed anyway, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (:32).

There are those who claim to be believers, and as Church leaders preach to congregations, yet they believe that the Resurrection of Christ was simply a “conjuring trick with bones”. They in truth do not have “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude :3).

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves:

a) That He is the Son of God

b) That He is the Messiah

c) That He is Lord

These truths are expressed in Romans 1:3-4, 14:9: “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead … For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living”. To deny the physical resurrection of Christ is to declare that one does not believe He is God’s Son, the Christ, or Lord. It is tantamount to calling God a liar.

But the Resurrection of Christ proves other things also:

a) That all of the teachings of Christ are true, “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:38-40); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you” (John 16:20-23). We know that we can come to Him and ask in prayer, we could not do this if He did not bodily rise from the grave.

b) Our salvation is secure not only because of what Jesus accomplished upon the Cross, but by the sure evidence of His Resurrection. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3), “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:24).

c) Through His resurrection we have proof that we have been delivered from the power of bondage to death and the devil, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15); “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). Therefore if Jesus has not been raised then we are still in sin and the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us.

d) If the Lord had not risen from the dead He would not be able to serve as our Great High Priest, “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:23-25). Paul is teaching here that we cannot have a dead High Priest. If Jesus “ever liveth” then we know He must have come back to life after His death and burial.

e) We can be confident that every word of God is true from Genesis to Revelation because of the Resurrection. If Jesus had not been raised then the entirety of the Scriptures would have been proven false. “And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4).

The Resurrection was an important part of the teaching of the early Church. This can be clearly observed in the book of Acts. We are told that the Jewish leaders were “grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2), because “with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (4:33). While in Greece Paul “preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection” (17:18). They taught the truth about the Resurrection of Christ because it is also the model of the resurrection of all believers. Because Jesus was raised from the dead we know that we too will be raised up if we die before the Second Coming of Christ (more exactly, reunited with our bodies).

1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept”, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). The miracle of Christ’s Resurrection does differ from the resurrection of believers. His Resurrection should be titled ‘Divine Resurrection’ since there purpose of it was to guarantee the salvation of all who trust in Christ. It was a miracle that can never be repeated for in it is included the raising of everyone who serves Him. We simply share in the power of that Resurrection, “Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14). This is why we await His return. We look forward to the day when He will come again and bring us into the Eternal Kingdom; “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 2:20-21). This will be the final part of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, if we believe we “have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) and “hath raised us up together” in Christ (Ephesians 2:6), then we can assure our hearts that “when He shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

It is the Resurrection power of Jesus Christ that enables us to live for God in this present world. It is vital that we have this power in our lives as Paul suggested, “That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). Therefore it is obvious that those who deny Christ’s Resurrection cannot have such power to live as believers. It is the source of strength for daily living.

In summary, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest of all miracles revealed in the Scriptures because, it not only proves the entire word of God to be absolutely true, it is our assurance that Jesus is truly the Christ, Saviour, and Deliverer, and by it we can know that our salvation is secure in Him.