1st April 2018

The first men on the moon. The invention of the wheel, or telephone, or the world wide web. Today we are thinking about the most world shattering news that ever happened. Jesus’ resurrection.

Why did Jesus need to rise from the dead? After all His death on the cross paid the price for sin and opened the way to God. This was shown by the ripping of the temple curtain in two and Jesus assuring the penitent criminal next door to him that “today you will be with me in paradise”.

1) The Bible teaches us that the resurrection proved that Jesus is really God’s son, He is human and God.

Romans 1. 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.

The last verse tells us that the purpose of the gospel is to bring people from all nations to trust in Jesus which will lead to obeying His teaching.

This leads me onto the second point.

2) The resurrection allowed Jesus 40 days until His ascension to teach His followers the true meaning of His life, death and resurrection.

We know from the gospels that many times Jesus taught His disciples and they didn’t understand what He was talking about, especially concerning His crucifixion and resurrection. But, starting with the two men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus used the scriptures to reveal that this was God’s plan to put people right with Him. He finished by teaching His followers to wait for the Holy Spirit who would give them the power and life they needed to truly live and minister for Him.

The Holy Spirit gave life to Jesus when he was dead, and gives life to us today. Romans 8.11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

 3) The resurrection showed that God the Father accepted Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross and proved that Jesus is able to forgive sins.

1 Corinthians 15.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

As I mentioned at the start, Christ forgave the penitent thief being crucified next to Him. But the resurrection is God’s “Amen” to the cross. It is His way of endorsing what had happened and assuring that those who are united with Jesus by faith are not separated from God by their sins.

By rising Jesus from the dead God showed that Jesus has the authority to break the power of sin and death and assure forgiveness and eternal life to those who accept His free gift of salvation.

4) The resurrection paves the way for life after death for everyone who trusts in Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

Those who follow Jesus will follow Him through death into eternal life. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, death is powerless.

1 Corinthians 15. 53 ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ 55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’

5) The resurrection also shows that believers will receive perfect resurrection bodies like Jesus.

Philippians 3. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Once they have been resurrected with Jesus, believers can look forward to having a perfect resurrection body like Him. I Corinthians 15.42-4 tells us that believers will receive imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual bodies.

The resurrection body of Christ illustrates this. The disciples recognized the risen Jesus, so there was continuity between His crucified body and His glorified body. But He was also able to go unrecognised. He passed through locked doors. Yet He also ate fish (Luke 24:41-43) and invited the disciples to feel Him. It was the same body, yet it was also a different body. The resurrection body retains the personal identity and individuality of the believer, but it will be suited to a new way of life.

Jesus was seen by over 500 people over a period of 40 days. We have conclusive evidence of Jesus’ resurrection that should give us confidence to trust in Jesus life, death and resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus teaches that He is whom He said He is. He is alive today and we can know Him through the Holy Spirit. The resurrection shows the type of bodies that we will inherit. It encourages us to keep going until that day comes.

1 Corinthians 15. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.