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Why does the resurrection matter?
April 25, 2023
There are good historical reasons for believing the resurrection actually happened, but another question remains: What difference does Jesus' resurrection make? It changes everything—your past, your present, and your future.
We have previously addressed the question of whether Jesus really died and rose again with a renewed physical body. But even if you agree with me that there are good historical reasons for believing the resurrection actually happened, another question remains: So what? What difference does it make? Why does the resurrection of Jesus matter? I would suggest that if the resurrection happened, then that changes everything: your past, your future, and your present.
First, if Jesus has been raised, there is forgiveness for the past. The Scriptures emphasize that Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s way of dealing with human rebellion and failure. That’s why the Apostle Paul said that if Jesus has NOT been raised, then the Christian faith is all in vain. If the resurrection never happened, then nothing has been done to lift the burden of sin, and Christians are even guilty of misrepresenting God. But if God raised Jesus from the dead, then that vindicates the claims Jesus made about himself.
And that means we can experience forgiveness… I would suggest that is not something to be taken lightly. Some of us might look at ourselves and say: “I haven’t done anything all that wrong which would require forgiveness - especially coming from God.” But that’s a superficial response. Look deeper. Who of us could say we have NOT done something that we could never take back, never change, never undo, and for which we could never really make amends? The full weight of the things we’ve done – and failed to do – would be enough to crush us. But if Jesus has been raised, we can experience forgiveness for the past.
Second, there is hope for the future. Jesus’ resurrection is a prelude to our own. God has promised to do for us at the end of history what he did for Jesus in the middle of history: He will raise us up with new physical bodies to live in a new physical world. The resurrection of Jesus is just the beginning of the new creation. God’s goal is not to remove us from this world, but to renew this world.
Somehow, someway, all the suffering that we have experienced in this life will be healed and made up for. God promises to personally wipe the tears from our eyes and bring about a new world where there will be no more sorrow or pain. Part of the problem is that our old bodies are made out of the wrong stuff. They are subject to decay and death. But through the resurrection of Jesus, God has not only defeated sin and evil, he has conquered death itself. That means that you will not lose your individual identity after you die. You’ll get your body back—better than before—better if for no other reason than because this time it will last!
The point is that you will be you in the resurrection, not someone else. And for those who are united to Jesus in faith, we need not be separated from the ones we love the most. If Jesus has been raised, then it means you will see that face, you will hear that laugh, you will feel that embrace again. You will not watch evil destroy this world. You will see it renewed with justice, peace, and love. This is not the end.
Third, there is not only pardon for the past and promise for the future, but purpose in the present. Some say if there is no God, then there really is no meaning to our existence. The only meaning to our lives is the meaning that we manage to give it. But if Jesus has been raised, then that means that there is an important link between the future and the present. We are called to anticipate God’s promised future in our actions now because that is the primary way in which God will provide the watching world with a glimpse of what the world will be like when Jesus makes all things new. Of course, our motives are always mixed, and we never get it quite right. All our words and actions will have to be purified. But the point is that everything we do now matters and nothing is done in vain.
Do you realize the significance that places on every little action?
Every time you Speak a Kind word. Extend a Warm Embrace. Lend a Listening Ear…
Every time you Befriend the Lonely. Welcome a Stranger…
Every time you Play a Song. Paint a Canvas.
Every time you Serve a Client. Create a Job…
Every time you Offer a Cup of Cold Water. Clothe the Naked. Feed the Hungry…
Every time you House the Homeless. Heal the Sick…
Every time you Defend the Innocent. Rescue the Oppressed.
Every time you Speak Up for the Voiceless. Stand Up against Evil…
Every time you Share you Resources. Open Up Your Home…
Every Time You Offer a Prayer. Every Time You Share the Gospel…
You provide the world around you with a glimpse of what the world will be like when Jesus makes all things new.
Everything we do now in service to Jesus and the world around us will last. Nothing will be lost or wasted. If Jesus has been raised, then it fills all our actions with significance.
Did the resurrection of Jesus really happen? You better believe it. What difference does it make? It changes everything—your past, your present, and your future.
Written by Jason Harris
Produced by Mary-Catherine McKee
Filmed and edited by Andrew Walker