The Message 2 – The Resurrection
In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we continue to look at the message of the early church regarding this Jesus – a message which is also relevant to us today! Yesterday we looked at the Cross and today we will look at the Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:12-14 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Significance of the Resurrection
That was the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church about the crucified Jesus having been physically raised from the dead! What significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection, that the early church afforded such great value in it as part of their message? The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18). Certainly within Paul-ine theology, but what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?
The resurrection proved and vindicated all of Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God, fully human and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4). The resurrection, declared God’s approval of Jesus’ obedient service and the fulfilment of Old Testament promises as well as Jesus’ own words about it! The cross and resurrection of Jesus results in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ.
This was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25). Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21). As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20, 1 Peter 1:21).
Finally the Cross and resurrection ensure victory over satan, sin and death – they are conquered and squashed. Satan is a defeated creature and will do anything to drag people into defeat with him. The power of sin is conquered, and sin’s grip is overcome if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Finally, as I said earlier, death has been beaten, because those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ will live forever with him – death is not the end but a beginning. if Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we as Christians are the product of the greatest delusional lie and are the most foolish of all people.
Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that all humans also will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)… Amazing love… There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead, those who are saved and those who are unsaved (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). What will our resurrected bodies be like? We get a good glimpse from the Bible writers. The resurrected body of believers, those who are truly disciples of Jesus Christ will be:
- Like Christ’s glorious body (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2)
- Not just flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15:50ff)
- Not just spiritual (Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 53)
- They were only always going to be a temporary measure as they pointed forward to Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross.
Those who are, or were, non-believers will also be resurrected (John 5:28-29), but will not have the new glorious bodies of believers, nor will they enter into heaven. It makes the work of evangelism for all Christians, all the more imperative.
Ultimately Jesus gives all humanity a choice. You can choose to deny the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and say it doesn’t matter. You can say that it is an irrelevance and that is your right. God’s love is compelling and amazing but He does not force anyone to love Him in return, because love never forces! Such is the enormity of the love of God that each person has a choice to make – follow Jesus and accept His cross and resurrection or not to do that. God will not force you to accept it, but he will keep on calling you back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection was the central message of the early church! That is also to be our message as church in the 21st century! Tomorrow we look even closer at the man central to this extraordinary message in the next of our series, “Consequences”! See you soon at Partakers!