The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Christianity Explained Part 3) – by Brady Tarr
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved“ (Romans 10:9)
In addition to Jesus’ divine sonship and his substitutionary death on behalf of sinners which were investigated in the last two devotionals, we will now discuss the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ which is another essential truth that a Christian must affirm in order to be a Christian.
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”A person’s salvation is dependent upon the genuine affirmation that Jesus Christ is the living savior and Lord of everyone who repents of their sin and has faith in Jesus Christ.Therefore, as we share the gospel with non-Christians, we must do our best to be clear in our explanation of what the Bible says about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus was not raised from the dead, the Christian faith is a lie and a person’s sins are not forgiven by faith in Christ as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep [that is, died] in Christ have perished.If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
In his book A Reason for God, Tim Keller, who is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York says this,
Sometimes people approach me and say, ‘I really struggle with this aspect of Christian teaching.I like this part of Christian belief, but I don’t think I can accept that part.’I usually respond: ‘If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.’That is how the first hearers felt who heard reports of the resurrection.They knew that if it was true it meant we can’t live our lives any way we want.It also meant we don’t have to be afraid of anything, not Roman swords, not cancer, nothing.If Jesus rose from the dead, it changes everything (202).
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus not only predicts his own death, but he also predicts his resurrection on four different occasions:
Mark 8:31 – And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. (See also Mark 9:9, 9:31, 10:32-34)
What do we learn about the resurrection from these predictions by Jesus?
- The resurrection was not God’s plan B, after everything went terribly wrong at Calvary. Rather, Christ’s death and resurrection were God’s intent all along!
- Jesus goes to his death confident of the final outcome.
- Jesus had a physical, historical resurrection in view (“after three days”)
One example of at least ten biblical texts that Jesus that speak of Jesus appearing to his disciples is 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep [died].”
Paul wrote the above passage just 15 or 20 years after Jesus’ death which is significant historical confirmation because Paul’s writing was so soon after the death and resurrection that it tells people, in a very public document, that Jesus rose form the dead, and that most of the eyewitnesses who saw the resurrected Lord were still alive to confirm this.It simply would have been too easy to disprove Paul’s claim if it hadn’t been true.
Once we have confirmed the fact of Jesus rising from the dead, we still need to ask about its significance.What was the purpose of the resurrection?What does it tell us about Jesus and what does it mean for us today?
Please read Acts 10:34-43.Here Peter has been speaking to Cornelius, a centurion in the Roman army, and his relatives and close friends.We see four truths in this passage that begin to point us to the significance behind the resurrection.
1. All people will be raised.(Acts 10:42, John 5:28, Acts 24:14-15)
2. All people will then be judged. (Acts 10:42, Rom. 2:6)
3. All of us will be judged by Jesus.(Acts 10:42, Rom. 2:16
4. All people will be divided into two groups: forgiven sinners who will spend eternity in heaven and unforgiven sinners who will spend eternity in hell.
5. Matthew 25:31-42 “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats… Then he will say to those on the left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels… Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (see also Mark 8:38, Matthew 13:47-50)
The life we have now is our one and only opportunity to believe in Jesus.Our attitude to Jesus in this life is going to be the same as His attitude to us in the next.If you accept Him now, He will accept you then. If you reject Him now, He will reject you then.
Other truths regarding the resurrection in the Scriptures:
1. By rising from the dead, Jesus demonstrated His divinity and power. (Rom. 1:1-4)
2. By rising from the dead, Jesus declares victory over sin and death. (1 Cor. 15:54-57)
- 1 Corinthians 15:54-57:”Death is swallowed up in victory.””O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In light of this passage:
1.No more atonement is needed
2.Sin is dealt with completely
3.No more guilt remains
4.God’s wrath has been fully exhausted, and the judgment of death no longer hangs over us.
5.His resurrection is the basis for our justification – “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25.Jesus has won the title to life and this becomes ours by faith.
3.By rising from the dead, Jesus shows us that all those who are united to him by faith have been and will be resurrected. (Rom. 6:4-11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-26)
Father, please cause our minds and thoughts to be consumed with a reverent awe of you and the work of salvation that you accomplished through Jesus Christ. Help us to fear you more than we fear man when we have opportunities to love others by sharing the gospel with them. Please give us boldness and love. Amen.
This six part series was developed from Christianity Explained Evangelism course: