Jesus’ resurrection is foundational to the Christian faith. It is so fundamental that Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
In other words, there’s no point in being a Christian if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.
We live in a strange time. People no longer care about the historicity of their religious beliefs. What matters is how a story makes them feel, not if it actually happened. But there are good reasons to believe Jesus actually rose from the dead.
Even if Christians do believe Jesus rose from the dead, they probably cannot explain why He did it. Yes it completes the work He began on the cross. But it has value beyond the cross as well. The Bible gives three reasons why Jesus rose from the dead.
Theologically, Jesus’ resurrection validates His claims to be the Son of God. Contrary to popular belief, this is a claim that He often made (John 10:30; Matthew 26:63-64). His resurrection is the moment when He became the royal Son of God.
Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm. It was used to celebrate the enthronement of a new king in David’s dynasty. Paul declares, “What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us…by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’” (Acts 13:32-33).
Jesus’ resurrection was also His coronation. The ancient kings of Israel had a unique father-son relationship with God. Jesus has always been God’s Son, but there is a theological sense in which He became God’s Son when He rose from the dead.
Jesus’ resurrection validates His claims to be the Son of God in an apologetic sense as well. He appealed to His miracles as evidence to support His claims. He tells the Jews, “Even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (John 10:38).
The resurrection is the ultimate miracle. It trumps and validates every other miracle. It offers the ultimate proof that Jesus is God’s Son. Paul says He “was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
Peter tells the Jews, “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs…God has raised this Jesus to life…Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus…both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22, 32, 36).
Jesus’ resurrection also validates our belief in life after death. It is a token of our own resurrection. Paul says, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…Each [will be made alive] in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to Him” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
Practically, Jesus’ resurrection gives us power to live a new life. Paul prays for his readers to know “God’s incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Unfortunately, many Christians never discover that power. They fail to grasp that Jesus’ resurrection changes how we live on a daily basis. They remain enslaved to sinful habits and desires, and miss out on the new life He offers us.
Paul explains, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead…we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). He reasons, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he…will also give life to your mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).
Jesus’ resurrection is the source of power for the Christian life. By the presence of the Holy Spirit, it empowers us to live a new life that is free from sin. It empowers us to put sin to death and break its mastery over us. It raises us from our spiritual death and allows us to walk in newness of life.
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