Resurrection — Really?

Pastor James
April 6, 2023

“This coming Sunday is called Easter Sunday. The name "Easter" has a complicated origin, going back to some ancient, pagan spring festivals. But for Christians, it is a day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred around 30 AD.

At this point, you might roll your eyes and say, "I can't believe people actually believe that stuff!" When you say that, you are showing a right understanding of what resurrection is. Resurrection is not mere resuscitation. When a person is resurrected, he will never die again unlike those who have been merely resuscitated to life. No one has to tell you that resurrection is impossible under the laws of nature.

Christianity proclaims Jesus' resurrection, not resuscitation. That’s why people find it hard to believe. There are other things that are hard to believe. On a day like this, death may seem unreal, too. But at least we know it happens every day, everywhere. But Jesus' resurrection is not something that’s repeated or repeatable in the world.

But can we say that an event did not happen if it is not repeated? Can we prove that nothing happens, nor can ever happen, outside the laws of physics? Carl Sagan the cosmologist famously said, "The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be." That's a bold, elegant statement, for sure. But how does he know? Isn't it a leap of faith to say that nothing exists outside of the material universe?

The Bible recognizes that the message of Jesus' resurrection is a scandal to the Jews and folly to the world (1 Corinthians 1:23)! Even Jesus' disciples had a hard time believing it--until He appeared to them after His resurrection! Paul of Tarsus was once a fierce persecutor of Christians. But he suddenly became the most ardent preacher of the Christian message. Why? Because he met the resurrected Jesus on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus! For this change, he was persecuted and died a martyr's death.

Jesus' resurrection is certainly not an ordinary phenomenon. It was not even a rare event. It was meant to be an absolutely unique, unprecedented, one-of-a-kind event! How could it be anything less if it was meant to break the universal reign of death (against the laws of nature) and bring in the gift of eternal life?!

There are plenty of great religious and moral teachings out there--profound, insightful, inspirational, and life-changing! But what about the problem of death? Can anyone claim to have solved it if he is defeated by it? If we die without fear like Socrates, can we say we defeated death? And can we say we have addressed any of life's problems if we have not solved the problem of death? Death is not to be merely ignored as long as possible until we die, or accepted as a fact of life. “For the wages of sin is death...” (Romans 6:23).

Jesus' resurrection is not just a metaphor for turning over a new leaf in life. Paul claimed that the truth of Christianity depends on this historical event: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). This is so because the wages of sin is death. Unless the full payment was made, Jesus could not be raised from the dead. His resurrection shows, then, that it was fully paid for. God promises in His Word that those who believe in Jesus can have their sins forgiven, fully and completely.

There is more. Because God made us body and soul, and because both our body and soul were corrupted by sin, both must be redeemed from sin and death. That is why the Son of God came in the flesh, suffered, died for our sin, and physically rose again from the dead. We invite you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life, and receive God's free gift of forgiveness and eternal life, both in your body and soul! Happy Resurrection Day!