Why Christ's Resurrection Is So Important
All Christians affirm what the Apostle's Creed states about Christ's resurrection, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; The third day he rose again from the dead." But why is Christ's resurrection so important for the Christian message?
- The resurrection was a historical event. It was recorded by all four gospel writers (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:36-49; John 21:1-14). It was validated by eyewitnesses (1 Cor. 15:3-8). The renowned English legal authority, Thomas Arnold, stated, "The evidence for our Lord’s life and death and resurrection may be and often has been shown to be satisfactory. It is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece as carefully as every judge summing up a most important cause. I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence than the great sign which God hath given us, that Christ died and rose again from the dead."
- The resurrection proved that Jesus is who He claimed to be (Rom. 1:4). Among other things, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the promised Anointed One of the Old Testament (Matt. 16:16-18); the Son of God (John 5:17-25); the Son of Man (Mark 2:10, 28); and the eternal God of the Hebrews (John 8:58). The resurrection means that any other ideas about the identity of Jesus of Nazareth are irrelevant, null and void. By raising Jesus from the dead God has told us who Jesus is. Hank Hanegraaff wrote, "The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions. Through the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius. He is utterly unique. He has the power not only to lay down His life, but to take it up again."
- The resurrection means that for believers, the debt for our sins has been paid in full (Rom. 4:25). Christians can be assured that in Christ they have been "perfected for all time" (Heb. 10:12-14).
- The resurrection means that Christ is coming again, just as He promised (Matt. 25:31; John 5:28-29).
- The resurrection means that believers will also be raised from the dead (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 51-57; 2 Cor. 4:14; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:14-17). In the hymn "Jesus Lives and So Shall I" by Christian F. Gellert (1757) we sing, "Jesus lives, and so shall I. Death! thy sting is gone forever! He who deigned for me to die, Lives, the bands of death to sever. He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my Hope and Trust." Amen!