I was talking with a friend about how the most important thing to discuss with people is what they believe about Jesus. To push this thought further, the most important thing to discuss about Jesus has to be whether people believe in His resurrection.
Of all things that Christians believe, the resurrection has to be the most important. Standing at the graveside of Patrick Lewin, my friend, a member of our church, with family and friends, the belief in the resurrection is brought into sharp focus. Not only that he is absent from the body but present with the Lord Jesus, but also one day the resurrected Jesus will return and the dead in Christ, those who have died with faith in Jesus, will bodily rise again. In a letter to the Thessalonians the Apostle Paul says ‘the trumpet will sound and the Christians who have died will rise from the grave’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16). One day Patrick’s grave will be opened; he will have a new resurrected body.
Hearing various speakers at a conference on humanity, belief in the resurrection becomes a foundational truth in understanding God’s plan for us. We are made in His image. God’s answer to people going their own way, away from Him, is sending Jesus who is the resurrection and the life.
Jesus’ resurrection assures us of several things. Firstly, that Jesus is who He said He was. The great Christian apologist and writer C.S. Lewis, outlined the argument that Jesus was either a liar, or a lunatic or the Lord. The resurrection confirms Jesus’ identity as Lord, who overcame death, not the act of a lunatic or a deceiver. Secondly, it assures believers that their sin – rebellion against God – is paid for. Thirdly, Jesus makes a way for us to follow confident that we will have full bodily resurrection, being with Jesus forever.
In the early Corinthian church there were people who did not believe in the resurrection. The Apostle Paul addresses them saying that if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised from the dead our preaching, our faith is useless; sin has not been paid for, we are to be the most pitied people in the world! That is how important the resurrection is. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Paul outlines evidence for the resurrection and then the implications of the resurrection. He rounds off this incredible passage with these words, ‘But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57 NLT).
Lent begins on 6th March when thoughts turn towards Easter and Resurrection Sunday on 21st April. However, the Resurrection of Jesus and the implications should impact every day of our lives. Looking back with thanks, looking forward with hope, looking at each day with strength and confidence in Jesus the resurrection and the life. My hope is that you know Jesus and have confidence in believing His resurrection. In the lead up to Easter, why not take time to discover or rediscover this amazing truth.