After 2,000 years, does the resurrection still affect us? How? Why does what happened so long ago matter to us today?
1. The resurrection is the proof that our faith is not in vain. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (NKJV):
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
But Christ was raised so we need not doubt our reward of resurrection.
2. The resurrection demonstrates that everything else Jesus claimed is true.
The most impossible claim Jesus ever made, was that he would raise from the dead. If he pulled that off, the chance that the kingdom of heaven might fill our hearts as crops do a field is not unfathomable.
3. The resurrection allows us to live beyond ourselves.
You see, the resurrection of Jesus, means that you and I can and will be resurrected as well. Some to eternal comfort and peace, too many to eternal damnation, but it is hope that allows us to change our lives. The hope that this world with all its struggle and suffering is not all there is. The knowledge that redemption is available and that it comes with great reward, allows me to forgive. Because I know that there is more than this life, I can live free from any need to prove myself, or exact vengeance when wronged. I can love those who need it most.
In fact, this is what separates those who enter heaven from those who enter hell. Those who love Christ and others more than themselves, and demonstrate that love by paying the price to heal the hurts that others have caused will enter heaven.
In Matthew 25:34-35 Jesus tells a story that tells what is different between those he calls “sheep and goats.” Jesus says to the sheep, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (NKJV)
The truth of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead gives us hope, and hope changes everything!
Dow Tippett is Associate Pastor with Faith Family Church.