Jesus rose from the dead: So what?
A few years back, a friend of mine was interested in Christianity. I bought him a copy of A Case for Christ – a book that gives evidence that Jesus really rose from the dead.
After the Easter holidays, we met to discuss his thoughts about the book. I was so nervous about saying the right thing.
He sat across from me and smiled. “That book convinced me,” he said, slapping his hand on the table.
I looked at him in shock and excitement. “Really?”
He nodded. “I think Jesus really must have risen from the dead.”
I almost jumped out of my seat in excitement. Had he really become a Christian?
He continued, “It all makes sense now. I understand the Christian faith. Thank you for your time. It was all very interesting.” His tone was dismissive.
The excitement dried in my stomach. “You don’t want to… follow Jesus?” I asked awkwardly. “You understand why he died?”
“Yes. But, I’m happy leaving it there.”
“Oh,” was all I could manage. It was a response I hadn’t expected. Before I could work out what to say, he changed the topic.
But when we realise Jesus really rose from the dead, we can’t pretend it doesn't affect us.
Jesus’ resurrection changes everything (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
Hope for the Future
Jesus’s death and resurrection shows that, if we put our trust in him, we too will be raised to new life. After we die, we’ll live again with perfect, physical bodies in a perfect world (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
The resurrection shows Jesus is powerful enough to be trusted with our future. He was strong enough to defeat death itself (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
And this certain hope of a perfect life after death changes how we live now. Knowing where we’re headed changes our very purpose in life (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In ‘The Week’ (23rd Sept 2017), Eddie Izzard said,
“Religious people might think it goes on after death. My feeling is that if this is the case, it would be nice if just one person came back and let us know it was all fine, all confirmed. Of all the billions who died, if just one of them could come through the clouds and say, you know, “It’s me, Jeanine, it’s brilliant, there’s a really good spa,” that would be great.”
Jesus came back to tell Christians, it’s all fine, all confirmed. And that it’s much, much better than any spa! (Revelation 21:4)
Jesus has shown us the way to a wonderful place for every person who takes hold of his free gift of grace (John 14:2-4).
If we trust that his execution was the punishment our sin deserves, God promises to have punished our every sin at that cross. He promises to treat us as if we’ve led Jesus’ perfect life (Philippians 3:7-11).
We no longer have to fear the future, even death. It’s the best news ever.
Hope for Now
But it’s not just the future. The Bible says that Christians have been raised with Christ now (Colossians 3:1).
If you just ‘leave it there’ you’re still dead. Everyone is dead before following Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-3).
What does that mean?
When the Bible says we’re ‘dead’ it means that, though we appear to live, we’re dead inside. We can’t help but do wrong. We’re obsessed with ourselves and enslaved to the struggle for satisfaction. We have no hope and no future (Ephesians 2:12).
But then the Bible says what happens when we become Christians. We undergo our own resurrection from death to life here and now (Romans 6:8).
Being alive means we see that we need Jesus to transform our hearts (John 3:5-7). It means becoming God’s own child, adopted into his family, the church, where we are made more and more like him.
Being alive gives our lives a purpose to do the good things God has planned for us (Ephesians 2:10). We can live new lives that are no longer governed by sin (Romans 6:11-14). We may still mess up, but we know we’re forgiven and that it’s no longer part of who we are.
And incredibly, it means our home right now is in heaven right next to Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). We’ll always belong there no matter where we call home on earth.
To be alive is to be part of a kingdom full of joy and light (Colossians 1:12).
Following Jesus isn’t just a personal lifestyle choice. When we become Christians we join Christ in his death and resurrection. We’re raised to new life now – life which lasts forever.
Isn’t that something to get excited about this Easter?