It never ceases to infuse me with joy when I read, “He is not here, for He has risen (Matthew 28:6).” Reading through the gospel accounts, it is clear that Jesus was Someone special, doing all kinds of miracles and claiming to be God. He predicted that He would rise from the dead, but still as we read the account we want to know for sure if He actually will rise from the dead. Once we get to Matthew 28, for example, we learn that our hopes and anticipations are true, for Jesus did just as He said He would do, overcoming the power of the grave.
What good would it have been if Jesus died on the cross and stayed buried in the grave to rot? We could foolishly venerate him (small “h”) as a moral religious figure who was a good teacher and powerful personality, but we shouldn’t worship him as God. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” In other words, Paul understands that unless Christ did indeed rise from the dead, the whole Christian religion is a mockery because it is in vain. Unless we serve a risen Savior Who conquered sin and death, we shouldn’t even bother with Christianity. But since Christ did rise from the dead, His (capital “H”) death is effective to save us, and His resurrection enables both He and us to have victory over the grave and spiritual death. In the cross we are forgiven, and through the resurrection we have the hope of eternal life. The cross and the resurrection are a package deal. The resurrection gives validity, certainty, and proof that Jesus was Who He said He was: God. The resurrection also serves to give us confidence that we will live forever and be raised to enjoy eternal life with Jesus. The resurrection makes the gospel truly good news.
Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” We need to be careful when we present the gospel that we remember the best part of the story. Not only did Jesus die for our sins on the cross, but He was raised from the dead. He proved that He was God and that sin and death were conquered once and for all. In fact, when we come to Christ for salvation, we should follow the commands of this verse, acknowledging Christ as our Lord, implying that we have turned from our sins and sought His forgiveness, and believing that God raised Him from the dead. We don’t serve a dead Savior but a risen One. In fact, once we are saved, Christ Himself takes up residence within us, guaranteeing our future inheritance with Him in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14). Even now, there is a sense in which we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places because we have been raised with Him (Ephesians 2:6). The resurrection has great implications for Christians and for how we communicate the gospel message. Jesus is alive, and if we want to be alive with Him also, we need to die with Him and be raised with Him (Romans 6:4). This we do by asking His forgiveness, repenting of our sin, and believing that He died for our sins and rose again.
Jesus was not a mere religious figure who was here and then gone. Not only does His impact continue, but He Himself lives on. We worship a living Savior Who indwells His church even now. Indeed, it is a glorious transformation to be a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Not only are our sins washed away, but we are born again, made new, and indwelt by God Himself. If we need any further evidence of Jesus, we need only look inside our hearts if we are indeed believers. He is there leading us and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13), drawing us near to Himself, the Truth (John 14:6). Let us praise God this day and every day for a risen Savior!