Thinking about Resurrection
When asked, Christians are pretty good at offering explanations of what the death of Jesus means. They might reply that Jesus died for our sins. That he died as a sacrifice. That he died in our place. Believers may know sophisticated theological terms that further explain the meaning of Jesus’s death—words like atonement, substitution, reconciliation, and justification. Sure, not all Christians understand all these concepts, but many do have a grasp of the significance of Jesus’s death as the way our sin was defeated so we could be right with God.
Strange then that it’s sometimes hard to relay the significance of Jesus’s resurrection. We’re not quite sure how to answer questions like, If Jesus’s death made us right with God, was His resurrection necessary for that restored relationship? Or, If Jesus hadn’t risen, what about our lives today would be different? Would anything?
Of course Jesus had to rise from the dead. The Bible says that if Jesus did not rise, we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). The resurrection proves our faith is on a firm foundation. Without the resurrection, our faith would be nothing but a cruel joke (v. 19).
But this reply still fails to answer the simple question why? Why was Jesus’s resurrection necessary? Why would we still be in our sins if Jesus did not rise? Didn’t He already defeat our sins on the cross? Why does the resurrection prove that Christianity is true? Why would our faith be a cruel joke if Jesus had not risen?
These are the kind of questions many Christians cannot answer with confidence. We tend to have a strong theology of the cross, but a weak theology of the resurrection. This is a big problem, because the New Testament says the resurrection of Jesus is supremely important. Like the cross, the truth of the resurrection is central to our daily lives as believers.
Let’s consider 1 Peter 1:3–5, which describes key reasons why Jesus’s resurrection is central to our hope.
1. What role in your thinking does the resurrection of Jesus currently play?
2. What is the relationship between Jesus’s resurrection and our own resurrection? See Romans 6:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Romans 8:11.