Jesus died the most excruciating of deaths – hanging on a cross, suffocating to death as His dangling body gasped for every breath. And He did it for us sinners – to save us from our sins! But, of course, that was not the end of the story. No! On the third day, this same Jesus rose from the dead. Really! He bodily, physically rose from the grave where He lay, and now He reigns forever at the right hand of God! And that resurrection, while being a happy ending to Jesus’ life on this earth, was surely far more than just a happy ending. His resurrection unleashed so many of the blessings that come to God’s believing people … blessings we would not possess were Jesus not literally, bodily resurrected.
So, I say, the resurrection is not just the Bible’s version of ‘they all lived happily ever after.’ It’s a vital fact of history, and serves as the fountainhead for so much of what Christians hold most dear. Think it out with me. The resurrection of Jesus ...
1. Reminds us that Jesus really was dead. He did not merely appear dead. He literally, physically died ... therefore we are surely forgiven!
2. Proves that Jesus really was who He said He was (Romans 1.4). Not just a great religious leader; not merely a great teacher … but the very Son of God! There have been many great men. But they are all dead, proving themselves mere mortals. Jesus, however, is alive and well, demonstrating Himself to be the very Son of God!
3. Proves that the cross worked (Romans 4.25). Remember why Jesus died? So that sin might be forgiven and death (which results from sin) might be finally defeated. But, had Jesus not risen, how could we be sure that death had been defeated? And if we’re not sure death has been defeated, how can we be sure that sin (which causes death) had really been forgiven? Thank God we do not have to long ponder those questions – for Jesus is risen indeed! See also 1 Cor. 15.17.
4. Proves that the Scripture is accurate (1 Cor. 15.3-4). The Old Testament prophesied the resurrection 700 years in advance (see Isaiah 53.10). The New Testament confirms it. The Bible is, therefore, not a book of fairy tales and false prophecies … but an amazing collection of absolute truth! See also Luke 18.31-33.
5. Proves that God is all powerful (2 Cor. 13.4a). Nothing is more irreversible than death. But God reversed it!
6. Reminds us that Christ has triumphed over the devil (Ephesians 1.20-21). Just when the devil thought he'd won, Jesus rose and held a victory parade in enemy streets!
7. Ensures that we, too, will someday rise from the dead (1 Cor. 15.23). We are one with Christ. What happens to Him happens to us ... including bodily resurrection. See also 1 Thess. 4.14, 2 Cor. 4.14, 1 Cor. 6.14.
8. Ensures that we have new life here and now (Romans 6.4-6). Christ has new life. Someday we will too. But even now, we have been given new hearts and new starts … because of the resurrection.
9. Ensures that Jesus can continue ministering to us. Because He is alive, He can intercede for us (Romans 8.34, Hebrews 7.25). Because He is alive, He can save us (Acts 3.26). Because He is alive, and appeared to Paul in Acts 9, we have all the various books we have been quoted from above (Paul's letters). Thank God we do not worship a dead Savior, but one who ever lives, and can still help us!
10. Gives us a reason to celebrate on Easter Sunday … and every Lord’s Day. The reason Christians worship and take their Sabbath rest on Sunday (as opposed to the Old Testament Saturday) is because Sunday is the greatest day of all … the day Christ rose from the dead!
So there you have it. Ten reasons to fall down and worship this (and every) Sunday!