Jesus rose from the dead. On this, Christians stake everything. We believe it to be a real event in the past, which shapes our present lives, and guarantees our eternal future. As we remember and celebrate Easter this week, here are some reflections on why the resurrection matters.
The resurrection matters for our salvation. The Apostle Paul summarises the Easter message: ‘He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification’ (Rom. 4:25). Paul’s not saying we’re half-saved by the cross and half-saved by the resurrection. He is saying without the resurrection, we are lost. No resurrection means no justification: ‘If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins’ (1 Cor. 15:17). If Jesus stayed dead, our debt of sin remains unpaid. If there was no Easter life for Jesus, there is no new life for us. However, the resurrection shows that God has vindicated Jesus. Our debt is paid and peace is won.
The resurrection matters as we face our future. Paul said, ‘“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, 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!’ (1 Cor. 15:55-57). Paul’s sneering at death means that no matter what comes your way, you can walk in faith that God will have the final victory. God is stronger. He raises the dead. The decisive battle against this enemy was waged and won at Easter.
A Christian can die defiantly. We can look our last enemy square in the face, take one last breath, and say this, ‘I will breathe again. This heart will beat again. This body will rise again. Because my sins are gone and my Saviour rose from the grave!’
The resurrection matters because it gives us meaning and purpose in the present. Paul writes, ‘So then, dear brothers and sisters: Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain’ (1 Cor. 15:58). Jesus is our Risen King who has authority over everything. So we seek to point people to him in our priorities, words, and actions. Our labours ‘in the Lord’, whether in our jobs, or at home, or serving in our community or church, are not a waste of time. They are unambiguous investments in eternity.
The resurrection isn’t just a fact to be believed. It reshapes everything about us and everything that we do.