Saturday, April 4, 2015

Why Does Christ's Resurrection Even Matter?

Within Christianity we talk a lot about Jesus Christ's crucifixion. This is a good thing. We ought to continually honor him for it. It is through Christ's substitutionary atoning work that we are saved.

We tend to talk somewhat less about Jesus' resurrection. I'm not sure why this is. After all, it is a stunning miracle. Maybe the reason is that we aren't exactly sure what the significance of the resurrection is. While we embrace the crucifixion because it paid for our sins, we might not know why we should cherish the resurrection equally as much.

Simply put, why does the resurrection even matter?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit over the last couple of days. The reason is somewhat self-centered; I wanted to make sure that I know why Christ's being raised from the dead really matters. After looking up a variety of bible passages and consulting with my favorite systematic theology text, I now feel comfortable that I know why the resurrection is significant.

Being a blogger, I feel compelled to share my findings with you. What I'm writing here is nothing new theologically. You may find it fairly basic. That's fine. My hope is that it will assist you in thinking just a little bit more clearly about why Jesus' coming back to life is something that we as his people ought to adore.

I found six different reasons, although all are ultimately connected:

1. Most importantly, Christ's resurrection brings glory to the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 tells us, "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Although this passage does not specifically mention the resurrection, it is clear that through the resurrection all will eventually (at one time or another) submit to Christ, bringing glory to the Father.

2. Christ's resurrection shows that he has supreme authority.

"...and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all" Ephesians 1:19-22. Paul makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is in charge of all things.

3. Christ's resurrection is directly connected to our regeneration.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" I Peter 1:3. The apostle Peter informs us that we are born again through the resurrection.

4. Christ's resurrection is directly connected to our justification.

In Romans 4:22-25 Paul writes the following, "That is why his faith was 'counted to him as righteousness.' But the words 'it was counted to him' were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." This passage indicates that the acts of crucifixion and resurrection were both necessary to bring about our salvation. Also implied is that the resurrection is evidence that the Father accepted the Son's sacrifice as both valid and sufficient.

5. Christ's resurrection gives us reason to have faith in Christ and hope in our future resurrection.

According the Paul, "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain...but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" I Corinthians 15:13-14, 20. Without the resurrection, it is all pointless.

In a similar way Peter says, "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God" I Peter 1:20-21. Our faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is directly related to his being raised.

6. Christ's resurrection provides us with post-salvation marching orders.

Jesus did not leave us here to remain as we were prior to knowing him. At the conclusion of I Corinthians 15 Paul writes, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" I Corinthians 15:58. The apostle's use of the word therefore to begin this verse points back to the first fifty-seven verses of the chapter that focus almost exclusively on Christ's and our resurrections. God expects us, in light of the resurrection of the body, to stand for him and work for him.

The bible gives us ample evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is extremely significant. Let's cherish this stunning event just as much as we do the crucifixion. The two go hand-in-hand.

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