The resurrection is the central tenet of Christian theology. Not only does the resurrection witness to the immense power of Jesus Christ, the resurrection also proves to us that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God and Messiah. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). In that statement, Jesus also claimed to be the source of both.
Apart from Christ, there is no resurrection and apart from Christ, there is no eternal life. The amazing thing about the power of Jesus is that He does more than give life, He is life, and that’s why death has no dominion over Him. In resurrecting from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death. Here are 5 facts about Jesus’ resurrection and why they are so important.
There were many witnesses.
There were more than 500 witnesses who testified to the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, Paul writes, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.”
The primary duty of the apostles was to bear witness to Christ’s work and claims. In order to do that effectively, they had to be witnesses of His resurrection. Of the many people who witnessed Jesus in His resurrected body, only a handful of specific people were named. Each appearance was purposeful, even though some incidents were recorded without details. For the events that are recorded, the Scriptures reveal specifics that are intriguing and inspiring. The resurrection was particularly important because it gave credibility to Jesus’ life – it verified He was who He said He was.
The rolled away stone was significant.
Jesus or the angels rolled away the stone of Jesus’ tomb not so He could get out, but so others could get in and see that the tomb was empty, testifying to the resurrection. The stone was around 2 tons and would have taken many strong men to move it. The tomb was also sealed off and watched by Roman guards so the idea that the disciples secretly came at night is hard to buy. If the tomb had not been empty, claims of the resurrection could not have been maintained even for a short period of time, knowing that people in Jerusalem could have gone to the tomb to look for themselves.
The resurrection was prophesied.
According to 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus rose from the dead as the Scriptures had previously prophesied. Isaiah said that Jesus would be cut off from the living and then brought back to prolonged life (Isaiah 53:8-10). Many Old Testament prophecies can only be understood now based on what we know today looking back historically. When Jesus began to speak of His death, those around Him were caught off guard as they were looking for a Messiah who would immediately take over leadership of their nation.
It was bodily resurrection.
Many people think that the resurrection of Jesus was only a spiritual resurrection but it wasn’t just spiritual. It was also a bodily resurrection. It was understood by the Corinthian believers that physical death meant spiritual separation but it also meant the physical presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). This was not unusual for them to consider. However, Paul emphasized in 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection of Christ was bodily resurrection. The bodily resurrection is the most important event in history, providing indisputable evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Son of God.
The resurrection is just the beginning.
Jesus rose from the dead first, but His resurrection was an indication of what was to come in our resurrection. The Bible tells us, “But Christ had indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all would be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15: 20-22). The power that was used by God to raise up Jesus is the same power that will be used in our resurrection. But not all of us will be raised through the resurrection. Some of us will be alive at the time of Jesus’ return.
The resurrection ended the separation between us and God that sin had created. As Christians, we believe that Jesus will come again and those who have died in the faith are now with the Lord and those of us who are alive will join our Heavenly King and be a part of the kingdom that has no end.