All of us are pretty familiar with Easter Sunday and the yearly celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, you know that this Easter is one of the most important holidays in Christianity. We gather to honor, praise, and worship Jesus, our risen Lord. That’s all great. But, I’ve noticed that aside from the Easter season, we don’t consider the significance of the resurrection as often as we should. Since the resurrection of Jesus is foundational to our faith, we should be deeply acquainted with its significance for our Christian lives. In light of this, I’d like to share seven things every Christian should know about the resurrection. Here they are!
7 Things Every Christian Should Know About the Resurrection
1. All of Christianity Rests on the Resurrection of Jesus
Do you want to know what makes Christianity different from all the other religions in the world? Christ is central to our faith. No, he’s not just a good teacher that we follow – he is our risen Lord. If Jesus did not resurrect from the dead, our Christianity would be absolutely pointless. Our lives as Christians are fueled by the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. Since he has ascended into heaven, he is our Great High Priest and mediator who intercedes before the Father on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16). He is the way, the truth, and the life and we enjoy our relationship with God through him.
2. Over 500 Eyewitnesses Saw the Risen Christ
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-7, Paul quotes an early Christian Creed that affirmed the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection. This creed tells us that along with the apostles and leaders of the church, five hundred other eyewitnesses saw Jesus alive and risen from the grave.
While 1 Corinthians was likely written around AD 55, the creed would have come way earlier — within two and eight years of Jesus’ death! We know this for two reasons: Paul indicated that he “received” it, meaning that the other apostles taught it to him and the language of the text is very much in line with other early Christian creeds.
Within just a few years after Jesus’ death, the church already had a solid creed affirming that he had indeed risen. Many skeptics claim that the belief in the resurrection came from legendary writings developed way after Jesus’ death. But, it’s clear that’s not the case because legend cannot be formed and spread so early on when most of the eyewitnesses to an event were still alive.
This is a significant reminder that our Christianity is not based on blind faith. When we celebrate the resurrection, we do so knowing that a long tradition of reliable sources and eyewitnesses confirm that it did in fact happen.
3. The Resurrection Transformed Skeptics into Committed Followers
John 7:5 tells us that Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe that he was the Son of God. Yet, Jesus’ brother James went on to become a prominent leader in the church and even wrote a letter that’s included in our New Testament canon.
Paul was a ruthless persecutor of the church. The early followers of Jesus were terrified of him. However, after an encounter with the Risen Christ, Paul was converted and became one of the greatest apostles of his time, spreading the Gospel throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome.
Peter, who denied Jesus three times, stood up on the Day of Pentecost and preached the gospel boldly. He also became a prominent leader in the church. Finally, Peter was willing to be martyred for the sake of Christ.
What changed these men and many others? They had an encounter with the risen Christ and recognized that Jesus was not just a man, he was truly the Son of God.
This is still happening today. This is your story and mine too. We once did not believe but after encountering Jesus, now we live our lives for him.
4. The Resurrection Opened A Way for Gentiles to Be Saved
This is one of my favorites. The resurrection of Jesus provided access for Gentiles to become members of the family of God. Did you know that there was a literal wall in the temple court that kept Gentiles out? Any Gentile who passed the barrier of that wall could be executed. Interestingly enough, Ephesians 2:14 tells us that Jesus’ death broke down the wall of hostility that separated Jews and Gentiles. This was both a literal and figurative wall.
Today, Gentiles and Jews have access to God through Jesus. Gentiles no longer have to walk in darkness without the knowledge of God. We can know God intimately and have a relationship with him.
If you’re interested in learning more about Ephesians, grab the study here: 4 Week Bible Study of Ephesians: Living Out Your Identity in Christ
5. The Resurrection Proved That Everything Jesus Said About Himself Was True
Jesus made many claims while he was on earth. While some people believed him, most didn’t. He made two major claims we need to consider. First, he claimed that he was the Son of God. Next, he claimed that he would die and then rise again on the Third Day.
The resurrection proved that both claims were true. Who else but the Son of God could die and then resurrect himself from the grave? That’s right, no one else.
If those two major claims were true, then everything else that Jesus did and taught were true as well.
Why does this matter? Since Jesus is who he says he is, we need to pay attention and obey his words. Being a Christian should not be a half-hearted pursuit. Jesus is the resurrected Son of God and that alone requires a response from us.
Related: Why “Good” People Need the Gospel
6. The Resurrection Meant That Jesus Set Us Free From the Curse of the Law
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 tells us that everyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. In Galatians 3:13-14 Paul tells us this:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.Galatians 3:13-14 ESV
Jesus took our place by bearing the curse that we rightfully deserved. The Son of God hung on a tree and became a curse for us so that we could be free from slavery to sin. Now, instead of death, we receive abundant life.
7. The Resurrection of Jesus Brought the Kingdom of God to Earth
The Jews longed for the day that the prophecies would be fulfilled and God would restore them and set up his kingdom with Jerusalem at its center. However, they believed that God’s kingdom would come suddenly and that the world would be drastically changed as a result.
Jesus’ resurrection actually brought about the kingdom the Jews longed for. His resurrection changed the world as they expected but they didn’t recognize it. The kingdom of God didn’t come in the obvious way they expected. Instead, it came like a seed and sprouted and grew rapidly.
While the problem of death and sin has been dealt with in Christ, we are still awaiting the day that Jesus will set the world free from all the effects of sin.
To put it simply, two kingdoms exist together at once. The kingdom of God simultaneously exists within the kingdom of this world. But when Jesus returns, the kingdom of this world will be completely replaced with the kingdom of God and death, decay, sickness, and brokenness will exist no more. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that this day is coming soon and we get to proclaim this good news to everyone who will hear it!
I hope you enjoyed this article! For more reading on the resurrection of Christ, I highly recommend Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.