Happy Easter precious people.
While I naturally rail against the lack of originality of clichés, it is no cliché to recognize the Easter season and its symbolism. The essence of Easter is so central to our faith therefore it must be properly recognized and emphasized. Easter is a season when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to the believer, Easter is the foundation on which Christianity is built. This season marked the climax of Jesus’ mission here on the earth over 2000 years ago. Now, at a season like this, I am sure there is much to share however, permit me to deviate from my typical format in which I share my understanding of specific scriptures or concepts. Today, I would just rather write a post on something I learnt in February and coincidentally is relevant in this season. Besides, I would not write an Easter themed post if I have nothing to say. I believe this would help someone.
Sometime in mid February, I was asking myself a question and I desperately needed an answer. To some, it might seem like a dull question but I needed this question answered to my satisfaction. And to others, the answer might be obvious but to me it wasn’t. My question was this: Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead?
This came out of a deep place though it seems like a stupid question. I needed to know if the resurrection of Jesus is important at all and if it is, why? We acknowledge that the wages of sin is death; therefore His death was important to pay the price for our sins. We get that His death settles the deficiency of sin. We also know that He had to be hung on a cross so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law. That too was accomplished by His death. We understand that His death would reconcile us to the Father and repair the broken relationship between man and God. This was also achieved at the point of His death because the veil of the temple was torn from the top to bottom. We also recognize that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins; a price which He paid by shedding His blood at seven different points. If all these were accomplished one way or another by His death, what then did His resurrection accomplish? Why was it important that He rose from the dead?
There are a few reasons why His resurrection was important. One is the symbolism of our death to sin and resurrection to life. It is also an important representation of the reality that the dead in Christ shall rise again and be caught up with Him in the clouds upon His return. Paul said if we have no hope of resurrection, then we are to be pitied by all men. However the main reason I believe He had to rise from the dead was to validate His identity and by extension everything He ever said and did. His resurrection put Him in a class by himself. Ultimately, His resurrection was a sign that He was who He claimed to be and all that He said He was.
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.” 39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. – Matthew 12:38-40 (NLT)
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus asking Him to show them a sign from heaven to prove His authority. They were not convinced by all the miracles and signs Jesus had done that He indeed came from heaven as He claimed. They needed to be sure and they figured they would just ask Him to prove Himself. Jesus’ response tells it all. The ultimate sign and wonder is yet to come. I will die, be buried for three days and would rise again. That is the ultimate sign. They had heard of miracles in the days of old. The miracles worked by the hands of Moses were documented for them therefore they weren’t convinced by the miracles He worked. On the other hand, they had never seen a man predict his own death and resurrection. That was new and that event would validate everything Jesus ever said while He was on earth. If this most outrageous claim turned out to be true, they would have no problems believing everything else He had said previously.
This explains why the disciples never had real faith until after Jesus was raised from the dead and they saw Him. They confirmed for themselves without any doubt that He was alive again and well. They ate with Him, spoke with Him and touched Him. This same bunch who returned to their jobs after Jesus died would now become incurable evangelists and fervent preachers of this gospel.
Besides, the gospel is incomplete without the resurrection of Christ. I notice that in the book of Acts, the disciples emphasized the fact that Jesus was killed but even more so that He is alive and well whenever they had to address a crowd. Peter does so repeatedly in Acts 2:24, 2:32, Acts 3:15, and Acts 4:10 among others. He was basically hammering on the fact that they are witnesses of His resurrection and cannot be stopped from preaching that gospel. Paul likewise refers to the resurrection in virtually all His letters. He was also deeply convinced because He had seen Jesus, a man who was publicly executed, and spoken with Him on the road to Damascus. He says it clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 that there is no gospel without the resurrection and our faith is baseless without it.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He would be grouped with every other man who founded a religion. But Jesus was as much God as He was man. The blood of man cannot pay for the sins of man. Only the pure and undefiled blood of God can be acceptable sacrifice for the sins of a perishing world. Jesus was the only man that was born without the seed of man. His blood was untainted.
18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” 19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. – John 2:18-22 (NLT)
This text is a synopsis of all written above. The sign to prove that God sent Jesus was His resurrection, not His death. Everybody dies but no one but Jesus can raise himself after dying. To prove His authority and identity, He would rise from the dead and after this, His disciples believed all that the scriptures said and all that Jesus had said. It clearly implies that their faith came after He rose up and their faith was rooted in his resurrection. As we know too well, their faith was unshakable. They never hesitated after this even if it meant losing their lives. It is easy to die for Jesus with the assurance that you will be raised up again just as He was.
I am so glad He rose from the dead. I have hope because He wasn’t a fraud. Your faith and my faith then rests not in the words we hear but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power; the ultimate power being the power of His resurrection as Paul puts it in Philippians 3:10. Shalom & Happy Easter.