The heartbeat of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s what separates Him from the prophets, teachers, saints and cons. Following Jesus hinges on the confession that He lived a perfect human life, died a gruesome Redeemer's death, and was physically raised from the tomb to live forever.
In Mere Christianity, former atheist C.S. Lewis wrote that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. Jesus cannot be just a great moral example based on the claims He made. Only the Messiah - the promised deliverer - could forgive sin, heal the sick and raise the dead.
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live,” said Jesus (John 11:25“). "No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
The risen Jesus cannot be grouped among Buddha or the Dalai Lama (Buddhism), Krishna or Gandhi (Hinduism), Muhammad (Islam), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), Joseph Smith, Jr. (Mormonism / Church of Latter-day Saints), and the likes.
There is no one like Jesus, the sinless Savior who bore all our brokenness in exchange for all His righteousness (Exodus 8:10, Isaiah 45:5-7, 53:4, Jeremiah 10:6, Matthew 8:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, I John 2:2).
God's Word - which includes over 300 prophecies written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus and fulfilled by His life, death and resurrection - cannot be just a moral reference guide from which to cherry pick at our pleasing.
Either Jesus is God and the Bible is His Spirit-breathed, infallible revelation or it's not. Jesus leaves it for us to choose, and the choice we make changes everything for us today.
Why does the resurrection matter for me today?
We are more than the material. Our unseen souls were created to live in a love relationship with our Creator. Not just in heaven, but here on earth. God's promises in the Bible - more than 3,000 of them - are salve to our sick and weary souls.
Because Jesus rose again, we can trust everything that is written in Scripture and claim His Truth as our own. All of God's promises are "yes" in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).
By His mercy and grace, we can commune with God in the present and the eternal, only because Jesus walked out of that grave 2,000 years ago. The resurrection is the pivot point that changed everything.
God's hope isn't just about heaven
But Jesus didn’t just say, “I am the resurrection.” He also said, “I am the life.” The new life He offers is marked by transformation, restoration and redemption.
We cannot come to the Cross and be left unchanged.
God wants us to not only be filled with the hope of our future resurrection but also with hope concerning life for today - for every trial and temptation that comes our way.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
Jesus assures us that He came for the very purpose of giving us life to the full (John 10:10). This offering of abundance is an offering of Himself – of His supernatural presence, peace, forgiveness, and joy - and means that the promise of the resurrection is not just for our physical body upon death but for our hearts, minds and spirits now.
As we believe in Him, a constant and daily abiding, we can overflow with hope. This Holy Spirit hope can hush doubts and fears, hurdle hills and mountains, and hallow His name even in the face of death.
What in your life can God raise from the dead?
Is there a place in your life you have buried, because it feels hopeless - dead and decaying, never to see the light of life again?
Is it a broken relationship? Your marriage?
Is it the will and energy to parent differently?
Is it a spiritual gift that’s been hidden away for far too long?
Is it the courage to face a giant, a seemingly insurmountable stronghold?
Is it your self-worth or sobriety or the expectation for a brighter tomorrow amidst the darkness of depression?
Is it belief in a God Who’s so wild about you that He gave His life, so that you could live free from the weight of regret?
Jesus came to breathe His holy truth into places that are suffocated by sin and stress and shame.
Jesus didn’t come just so that we could see heaven one day. He came so that we could have spiritual revival and healing for today. We must hold fast to this hope and to these truths, because He who has promised them is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
So He is risen means that we rise too - from our shame, our suffering, our grief, our addictions, fears and phobias. We walk out our faith as we abide in Him. We take holy, humble steps, surrendering our understanding and control, even if the thorn in our side remains.
We can walk towards wholeness and holiness in Jesus because He rose again.
Jesus can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He wants us to rise and live life to the full, being renewed by His Spirit and Word until we enter into glory (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Titus 3:5).
Abide in Jesus, the living Lord, and walk in the newness of life that He came to give. Whatever it is in your life that needs help, it can be different today because Jesus died and rose again. Let Him resurrect your hope, your love, your peace and joy. He is risen!