We have considered the death of Christ and its result in a Christian’s life in the last issue. Now it’s imperative to consider the resurrection of our Lord also in the same perspective. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ goes together. We cannot isolate any one of it. His death has no value without His resurrection; similarly His resurrection is meaningful because of the fact of His death.
Both, His death and His resurrection remain the foundation of Christianity. Paul says it emphatically, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God...” 1Cori 15:14, 15. That’s why the New Testament gives much importance to the truth of Christ’s resurrection. We see more than 100 references to it. The Lord Jesus also, after His resurrection stayed with the disciples for 40 days to convince them with infallible proofs of His resurrection. They were so gripped by that fact and began to declare it so vigorously, in spite of all kinds of opposition.
Acts of the Apostles as well as the epistles teaches us of how the truth of Christ’s resurrection affected the early church. Even today such should be our experience, because our Lord is alive. In summary we can say Christi’s resurrection gives a Christian assurance. It guarantees his faith and hope. At least five things are noteworthy.
1. It assures us of Christ’s truthfulness. Luke 24: 6, 7.
“He is not here, but is risen. Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered in to the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
The empty tomb assures us that whatever Christ spoke is true and reliable. Just as He spoke, He rose again from the dead, which means all what He spoke either of His person, work or whatever, all true and must come to pass. Cf. Rom 4:25. Boldly we can trust His words and promises.
2. It assures us of our salvation 1Cori. 15: 17.
“If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile: you are still in your sins!” Now Christ’s resurrection from the dead proves that God the Father has accepted the atoning sacrifice of Christ and we have forgiveness and salvation through faith in His sufferings and death. Someone said, “His death was the payment for our redemption and the resurrection is the receipt”.
Just as Israelites in the OT could confirm the completion of the annual Day of Atonement by the coming out of the High Priest from the most Holy place in the Tabernacle, by the resurrection of Christ, we can be sure of the efficacy of the death of Christ as a once for all sacrifice for our sins.
3. It assures us of His present ministry. Heb. 7:24, 25
“But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. “
Not only He died to save us, He also lives to continue to keep us saved and holy for Him. He pleads for us sympathetically. What a reassurance to be aware of our advocate who mediate on behalf of us continuously with the Father. Cf. 1John 2:1, 2
4. It assures us of His power available for us. Phil 3:10; Eph 1: 19 – 22.
OT saints measured the power of God by His mighty deeds in connection with the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and subsequent care and provision for them. Prophets often referred to what God did for Israel in the past to challenge them to continue to trust in God. Similarly in the N. T Paul speaks of the ‘power of His resurrection’ as something that every believer must be aware of. Cf. Mic 7: 15.
There is much power available for us; just as God worked in connection with the raising of His Son from the grave, God’s indescribable strength is available for every believer in Christ. We have enough resources lead a new life, grow and lead a fruitful life. Need to be enlightened of the availability and yield to God’s working in our life.
5. It assures us of our own resurrection. 1Cori 15: 19 – 22.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive”.
All that the word of God predicts about the future of a believer is guaranteed by the resurrection of Christ. Resurrection of those who die in Christ, the transformation of the living saints at His coming, the rapture, reward and our heavenly life etc have been confirmed. The Lord also declared it, “Because I live you will live also.” John 14:19c. cf 1John 3:1 –3; 1Thess 4: 14, 16. We are not simply hoping for a peaceful eternity but are very much sure of it.
Outcome of such assurance
Acts of the Apostles reveals the result of having such full assurance based on the resurrection of the Lord. Jesus Christ. In the end of the gospels we see the disciples as very timid and terrified. But soon after the ascension of Christ they began to proclaim the gospel of Christ, emphasizing the resurrection and present glory of Christ. They became so strong and hopeful that no man or even could destroy the zeal for the Lord.
We too need the same realization today. Our Lord is alive and need no fear, discouragement or feeling of weakness. Let me conclude with the word of Paul in 1Cori 15: 58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”