April 12th 2009

The Significance Of The Resurrection

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve”
1Corinthians 15:3-5 NIV

Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This is more than some people can believe, but if it is true, then there is an even larger question: What does Jesus’ resurrection have to do with us?

The resurrection was central to the message of the early Christians. In the Acts of the Apostles, we see that when the apostles Peter and John preached, they centred their message on Jesus and his resurrection.

It was the same with the apostle Paul. When he was speaking with the philosophers in Athens, they ridiculed him, calling him a spermologos, which in Greek refers to a “guttersnipe” or a “street-person” – someone hanging around in the markets picking up scraps of food that fell on the ground. They laughed at Paul because he was telling them that Jesus, a man, rose from the dead.

So, I return to the question – What does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with us today? Let me mention three reasons why this amazing event is vitally important to everyone.

First, Jesus’ resurrection assures us of God’s forgiveness. Jesus not only died for our sins, he rose from the dead and ascended to the Father. And as the perfect human – on our behalf and in our place — he has taken our sins upon himself and made us clean.

Second, Jesus’ resurrection assures us of God’s power. If you are like me, I need more than forgiveness for the past. I need power to live in the here and now. In the power of Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Jesus, making us more like him as we live each day. Becoming a Christian is nothing less than a resurrection from spiritual death and the beginning of an entirely new life in the power of the risen Christ.

This brings me to the third reason why Jesus’ resurrection is so important: In it, we are assured of God’s ultimate triumph at the end of history.

The apostle Peter wrote: “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…”(1Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

One of the great differences between Christianity and other religions is the Christian understanding of the future. The resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of the regeneration of the entire universe. It is God’s pledge that the material creation is being made new, and it is the guarantee of the resurrection of our bodies after our physical death.

Prayer
Great God, thank you for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that through it I am assured of forgiveness, that through the Holy Spirit I am raised each day to newness of life, and that because Jesus was risen from the dead I have a living hope for the future.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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