People come and go. They are born and do a few things in life and then die. The landscape of history is marked by this seemingly endless cycle. Most people in this cycle are barely noticed. However, there are notable people of history such as great leaders, religious figures, athletes, authors, musicians, politicians, philanthropists, etc. who are highly recognized. These notable people of history are a diverse group and yet they are all the same on one point: death. No matter how successful or unstoppable they were in their field of expertise they are now dead.
Standing out above all other figures in history is Jesus. He is rightly identified as a notable person of history, but this notability is unique. He died, but He is not dead now. Easter is a far more significant observance than family time and egg hunts. The significance of Easter is the true biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection.
Simply put, the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth and became man. He lived a perfect life and proclaimed the righteousness of God. His words infuriated those who did not know God the Father. As a result He was crucified along with common criminals even though He was innocent of any wrong doing. Rather than merely dying a martyr’s death the Bible teaches that when He died He took upon Himself the sin of mankind. He died in the place of sinners. He bore the wrath of God against our sin and He died on our behalf. Three days later He did not stay in the grave, but came back to life. He resurrected from the dead.
To say that Jesus died, but is now alive is a bold claim. What evidence is there for such a claim?
Three pieces of evidence to consider:
The Resurrection of Jesus should not have been a surprise
Jesus predicted His own death and resurrection. He told His followers that He would “suffer many things…be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matthew 16:21). His followers were devastated because in their grief they failed to remember this prediction.
The Resurrection of Jesus was verified by witnesses
After Jesus rose from the dead He showed Himself to those who were devastated by His death (Mark 16:14). 1 Corinthians 15:6 tells us that He showed Himself to more than five hundred people before He ascended back to heaven. The first four books of the New Testament give the account of His resurrection (Matt. 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-21:25).
The reality of the resurrection of Jesus showed up in the lives of His followers
The disciples were in deep despair over the wrongful death of Jesus (Luke 24:17). They were in no frame of mind to launch a worldwide following of Jesus and yet that is just what God used them to do. The only explanation of how the followers of Jesus could go from utter dejection to overwhelming expansion is if Jesus did not remain in the grave. The book of Acts details the expansion of Christianity after Christ’s resurrection. This was the message: “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).
What are the ramifications of a resurrected Jesus if the Bible’s account is true?
If Jesus died and rose again from the dead then…
1. His words must not be ignored-words that your eternal destiny hangs upon.
2. He has power over sin-even the sin that dominates your life right now.
3. He has power over death-even the death that you fear in the future.
4. Christianity is unique in that Jesus is alive rather than being just another dead religious prophet.
5. Those who believe in Jesus “have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter1:3).
6. Those who believe in Jesus are declared to be righteous (justified) before God because Jesus was “delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).
The resurrection of Jesus is the best news a sinner could ever hear. His resurrection demonstrates that He has power over sin and death. The reality is that all of us are guilty before God as sinners (Rom. 3:23). We could never pay for our debt of sin before the holy and righteous God. The good news is that Jesus could and did provide that payment. He lived the perfect life that we cannot and are not living. He died not merely as a martyr, but as a substitute for sinners like us. The Bible says that on the cross Jesus was “pierced through for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). Romans 10:9 displays why the resurrection of Jesus is good news: “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The Good News
The good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that this Easter you could pass from death unto life; from being bound for an eternity under the righteous wrath of God to an eternity of being the object of God’s favor; from being without hope for the future to having a glorious hope for the future.
Your Necessary Response
All of this depends on your response to who Jesus is and what He has done on your behalf. You must turn from your sin and believe in Him alone for salvation. He is no mere notable person in history. He is the unique resurrected Savior of the world.