Max Lucado, the famous Christian author, recently tweeted, “When Jesus died, so did your sin. When he rose, so did your hope. (hashtag: ‘HeChoseTheNails.’)”
I like this. It’s quite true, though perhaps a little cliche.
Okay, so I know that Christ died and rose from the dead. He died to cover my sins, but what purpose does the resurrection serve? I know that it identifies Him as the Risen Christ – not a prophet, but as God Himself, because no other prophet or “god” can boast this power. I know this, but why is the Resurrection supposed to give me hope?
I have been up all night looking into this. I watched The Passion of The Christ for the third time ever for inspiration, and merely ended up bawling my eyes out like a little girl. That movie is just wonderful; it puts into visual perspective how much Jesus persevered through just so He could die for our sins. I remember specifically in the movie when He’s carrying the cross, He falls down and His mother comes over to help Him up. He looks her in the eyes with blood and sweat and more blood running down His face and says, “See mother, I go to make all things new.” I am unashamed to admit, I wept aloud. But I digress – this movie, though thoroughly inspirational, helped me not a bit in answering my question.
I looked through Romans, Isaiah, the Gospels and found verses that mentioned the purpose of the resurrection obscurely like Romans 4:25, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” And Romans 5:10, “For if when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved through His life!” Then I finally came to 1 Corinthians 15. This is an entire chapter of the Bible completely devoted to the Resurrection. It’s too long for me to quote the whole thing here, so I’m just going to put the verses important to my discussion, however, I would highly recommend you read the whole thing.
In this passage of the Bible, Paul is talking to a faction within the Corinthian church who does not believe in the resurrection of people. Paul is trying to help them understand that without a resurrection, there is no Resurrection of Christ. He goes on to describe how Christ’s Resurrection has made available the future resurrection.
“But Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam, all die, so in Christ will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then when He comes, those who belong to Him.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
This is telling us, that since Christ was raised from the dead, we are now qualified for our resurrection at the second coming. Without His Resurrection, there will be no resurrection of ourselves. With Christ’s Resurrection, the prophecy from Hosea 13:14, can now be fulfilled:
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?”
When Christ was risen from the dead, he was thenceforth given power over death, “For [God] ‘has put everything under His feet” [1 Corinthians 16:27a] allowing Him the power to raise us all from the dead when He returns again at the second coming. If God hadn’t raised Jesus from the dead, we would still be saved from sin, but there would be no reason to be saved from that sin, if our bodies cannot be resurrected. Thus though the crucifixion is much more widely preached, the resurrection is just as important. The two extraordinary events Jesus performed out of His unfathomable love for us go hand in hand, working together to allow us to spend eternity with Him. The Crucifixion redeems of us our sins and the Resurrection gives us the future of living with Him for all of eternity. That is where the hope that Max Lucado is talking about comes from. We not only have joy in the forgiveness of our sins, but we have hope in life everlasting with our LORD and Savior who loves us a million times more than you can even imagine!!! How awesome is that? I don’t know about you, but that sure gives me hope. If Jesus was willing to go so far as to die for us while we were sinners, how much better will life be with Him now that we have been redeemed!!! (This is what Paul was saying in Romans 5:10).
And if that isn’t enough to give you hope, think about this. In three days, Jesus conquered sin for the whole world and then conquered death, defying the rules of this world. And in addition to that, He also defied the laws of sin which say that a man guilty of unforgiven sins should be condemned. But Jesus, who took all my sins and your sins and died with them, was raised from the dead, left those sins in the grave, and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for both of us! I don’t know about you, but I am fully comforted by putting my hope and trust in a God this incredibly powerful!
Do you not see it? Do you not understand how amazing He is? Everything He did, He did for you. He didn’t rise from the dead to demonstrate His being different from every other “god” out there. He didn’t rise from the dead just to demonstrate His power. No He rose from the dead to complete His transaction for YOU. He purchased you with his death and life. The crucifixion was the payment and the resurrection the receipt! He bought you and now He holds onto that proof that you are His and no one can take you away as long as you just accept Him! O, praise the One Who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!