Today is the day Christians mark as Resurrection Sunday, in the belief that Jesus was raised from the dead after his crucifixion, death and burial.
We affirm, as the Scriptures tells us, that God raised Jesus from the dead as he had said would happen. (Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.)
But what does that mean really and how does it relate to you today?
If Jesus did in fact rise, as I and many others believe and as historical evidence strongly supports, then this remarkable truth has a number of logical implications:
It is proof Jesus was the Son of God (second person of the Trinity) and in fact deity:
Jesus repeatedly made it clear he was God. In John 10:30 he said, “I and the Father are one.” The Jewish leaders’ reaction was incredulity, that he a “mere man, claim to be God.” There were other times he made it clear he existed before Abraham and where he accepted people confessing he was God. On trial, the Jewish leaders asked if he is the Christ (their Messiah). And Jesus responded: “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:61-62). This claim to deity, is why he was accused of blasphemy and crucified.
But by rising from the dead and appearing to hundreds of witnesses, he proved that he was not just a moralistic teacher who was hated by the world and killed. He was not just a crazy man willing to be martyred. And he was not a liar. He was God in human flesh.
It confirms that Christianity is the one true religion in a world of many competing religious claims:
No other religion can claim its leader is alive today. Christianity is the only one whose leader conquered death itself.
If Jesus rose from the dead, it confirms that the Bible is true:
If Jesus really rose from the grave, it is supernatural testimony that all that he taught and preached was the truth. Since that is recorded in Scripture, and since Jesus repeatedly affirmed the Old Testament in his teaching, and commissioned the disciples to go and preach that gospel we can know that the Bible is true. It means all that the Bible says about God is true. We know that God is holy and just and that he has set down his moral law, that he cannot tolerate sin (the breaking of his law) and he will punish sin. But the Bible also makes it clear God is loving and extends mercy. He demonstrated his love and mercy by sending Jesus.
1 John 4:9-10: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
If the Bible is true, what the Bible says about you is true too.
So what does the Bible say about you? It says that by God’s standard of absolute holiness, no one is righteous. (Romans 3:11-12). It says that every single one of us is a sinner: Romans 3:23. “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
This is a hard thing for many people to accept. Many people figure they are good enough, or better than the people around them, or they’re not so bad. But God’s measure is absolute perfection. And He says we all fail because we are, in our very nature, sinners.
“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) The Bible repeatedly refers to people in this state as “dead” in their sins.
Sinners are separated from a relationship with God and already under God’s judgement. The Bible says that Jesus is the righteous judge of all humanity (John 5:22).
Many people are familiar with John 3:16 and the good news of salvation it offers, but that passage also explains what every person needs to be saved from in the next few verses:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21 [Emphasis added]
No amount of cleaning ourselves up or trying to obey or doing good deeds can save us (“For by works of the law [obedience to the law] no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” Romans 3:20).
That’s the bad news. But there is good news too. The best news actually.
The good news is that because of the resurrection of Jesus, there really is a way to be forgiven our sins and restored to fellowship with God. We can escape God’s wrath. Jesus has provided the way for us to be justified in God’s sight. That was his very mission and the reason he kept telling the disciples he needed to go to the cross to die:
Someone perfectly holy needed to satisfy God’s wrath against sin because “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” of sins as Hebrews 9:22 says. Only God could do that and he promised he would. That is why Jesus came.
More than 700 years before Jesus lived, Isaiah 53 foretold the suffering he would endure, his silence before accusers, and how his sacrifice would pay for our sins.
Verses 5 and 6 say:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
And verse 12: “Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”
Many other Bible passages affirm the same thing.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
Jesus said those who believe in him, confess him and trust in him for salvation from their sins, will be forgiven and find life in Him.
In John 11, Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believe in me will live, even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9
1 Cor. 15:20-21, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
He offers us life through faith in what He accomplished already: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Romans 3:22-28
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
So what does this all mean for you today?
For those of us who are already saved, that incredible truth of the resurrection should drive us always to our knees in worship of Jesus, and should compel us to tell unbelievers this message of hope and good news. This new life in Jesus should transform us. That transformation will be the focus of an upcoming post here at Steak and a Bible.
For those who are not Christians already, the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and the good news of salvation is calling out to you, begging for an answer. He is calling you to repent and believe in Him. The offer demands a response from every person individually.
Will you reject it or postpone it? Or will you believe it?
If you have any questions about Jesus, the Bible, Christianity, or what I’ve written in this post. Please get in touch. I would be happy to discuss this with you through email or Facebook.