Scripture Reading: Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; 1 Corinthians 15
Key Verse: “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…” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
There are 3 implications to take away from the resurrection of Christ (not exhaustive obviously) and I want to examine each of these today on this beautiful (at least for the Southeast) day. In order to have the correct perspective on Easter Sunday we must realize that the resurrection of Christ actually happened (historical truth). It is also important to realize that our faith is substantial and has substance because of the resurrection. Finally, we will examine the glorious end result for all who have (or ever did have) faith in Christ and have submitted to follow Him as Lord.
Firstly, as Christians we must revel in the reality of the resurrrection of Christ. This is not just some good story to conclude a very exciting and eventful life of an interesting man who claimed to be God. The resurrection of Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purposes for the Son. This historical event of an empty tomb and a risen Savior allows the glory of God to blindingly illuminate. Preaching and receiving the truth of the death and resurrection of Christ is of first importance for the Christian. Paul sees this importance and echoes the reliability of Jesus’ resurrection in his description of what is of most importance to believers. “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. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Paul went to great lengths to be sure that the believers in Corinth were assured in the truth that Christ had in fact risen. Before Paul goes any further into the implications of the resurrection of Christ, he is sure to repeat that He has in fact risen and there are countless witnesses. Paul doesn’t simply give his own testimony of seeing the risen Lord Jesus, but he also gives five other sets of witnesses (Peter, the twelve, 500 brothers, James, & the apostles). We must avoid any doubts we have as to whether Christ actually did rise from the grave on the third day. Be assured with the witness of Paul and these other early brothers in Christ. Before we can place faith in what the resurrection of Christ has done for us, we must place our faith in the reality of the resurrection of Christ. Be careful not to get so caught up in the theology of the risen Savior that you miss out on reveling in the actuality of the event. We tell the story of a risen King, but it is not historical fiction, but instead historical truth.
Secondly, the resurrection of Christ gives our faith substance. I am once again relaying Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 15 as he writes that if “Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). This indicates that without the resurrection of Christ, Good Friday would not be good. The theology behind Christ’s substitutionary death would be incorrect and truly futile. We would be placing our faith in a lie and would be living a foolish life, submitting to one who indeed is not Lord. If Christ has not been raised, “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). Our faith is truly in vain if Christ has not been raised. This is because if Jesus had died and not rose on the third day, he would be no different than any other man. His divinity would have been exposed as a farce. If our sin is to be defeated and our eternal punishment taken for us, we need an acceptable and effective propitiation to live a life we could not live, die a death we deserve, and rise from the grave to be worthy of all such accolades. Jesus did this. Now, because He has risen and lives, so can we. Our faith now has substance and is not futile. We are not foolish in our faith and submission to Christ as Lord for He has earned His title with His defeat of sin and death through His resurrection. All evidence of our faith is found in the resurrection of Christ. Rest easy for He is risen and your faith is secure in Him!
Thirdly, Christ in His resurrection has become the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). We have already seen that the resurection of Christ is reliable by the accounts of many witnesses, that it substantiates our faith in Him, and now we see that He has given us a foretaste of what our future glory and the future glory of the saints of old will be like. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). All who have, are currently, or will place faith in Christ as Lord will live eternally in a risen body as Christ did as our “firstfruit” example. At the second coming of Christ, all who are in Him will have glorious and “imperishable” ressurection bodies, never again subject to weakness, illness, aging, or death. For those Christ-followers who have already departed this earth, they are already basking in the glory of heaven as spirits without bodies waiting on Christ’s return to receive their resurrection bodies (2 Cor 5:8; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9). Glory to God for the resurrection of Christ which has bought us eternal life filled with glory to come! Because of Christ’s resurrection on the most glorious Sunday in the history of the world, we will one day also be resurrected into unimaginably attractive bodies filled with glory that are completely imperishable in stark contrast to our current earthly bodies.
I pray you go away today with a greater realization of the resurrection of Christ and that you would give Him even more glory through praise and worship and that you would be filled with greater joy and assurance in your guaranteed life in Him. Understand that this promised glory and imperishable body is only for those who are in Christ Jesus, meaning that this glorious result is only for those who place their faith (which is not futile or vain) in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and death. For “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor. 15:50). This indicates the need for a regenerate heart and the necessity of being born again (John 3:3). Be confident in your faith my fellow Christ-followers for He is worthy of our given submission to His Lordship because of His glorious resurrection on that world-changing Sunday. In reflection of the resurrection of Jesus today, may God receive glory through your delight and satisfaction in Him. Revel in the resurrection of Christ today!
By His Grace & For His Glory