"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" Luke 24:5-6
Luke 23:44-24:12; John 20
Do you understand the importance, relevance, and impact of the Cross? Do the people in your care?
Key point: The cross on display is the symbol of torture and punishment turned into an enduring icon of redemption and love! The cross is pivotal for the real Christian faith. Without it, there would have been no redemption or real faith, as the substance of our faith would have been absent. The cross is central to who Jesus is and what He did for us. It must be displayed, and preached and taught. If you take away the cross, you no longer have a faith; you have a mere religion based on superstitions and man's creative ingenuity. The cross represents atonement--our being forgiven of our debt of sin by our Lord's shed blood. This is the heart and core of our faith.
There is no Christianity without the cross!
Friday's death has passed and Sunday has come! The climax of Jesus' ministry and work has reached culmination--He is Risen! We mark this particular day on Easter Sunday; but, we celebrate the Risen, Conquering Christ daily. The history of humanity, our separation of God by sin, the move of our Lord through history and our lives has interwoven to the finishing point--by His obedience on the cross and in His Resurrection, we have redemption. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God's wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises to life, conquers death, and gives us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!
Christ's Sacrifice for All! The Resurrection is the ultimate wonder of the universe--the incredibly impossible and the incredibly triumphant love of God.
Jesus was crucified. He died, was buried, and now He is back to life, arisen! This is fulfilled prophecy, and He gives us not only salvation for a future Kingdom, but also hope for today. By God's mercy and Jesus' great love, we have real faith that fulfills our empty, meaningless lives with a real purpose (Psalm 16:8-10; Matt. 12:40; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 4:21; 1 Cor. 15:16-17, 51-58; 1 Peter 1:3).
The Resurrection is the heart of Christianity, the ultimate climax that has come for the Church and for the Christian!
Jesus has risen from death! This gives us our eternal life, hope for the future, and effectual life for today. It encompasses all of our Lord's life and mission and the incredible, undeserved miracle of our redemption! All that God has made has pointed to His Son, who lived and died for you and for me so that we may live eternally with God in Heaven. Jesus, being both God and sinless man, knew our sin and God's great wrath. This sin grieves the Father; the Son has died in our place to absorb God's wrath and pay our debt of sin; the Resurrection is Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord and Savior conquering death and giving us new life by His victory and the product of grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness!
The Resurrection is the celebration of the accomplished Gospel!
The Gospel is the ultimate Message, the ultimate Good News that is wrapped up in this happening, the wonder of the universe! This is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this means that Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried and He rises, conquering death to give us life (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4).
Jesus defied the laws of science, nature, and reason, moving from being completely dead to being completely regenerated and resurrected, proving He is indeed LORD over life and death and offering us hope for today and everlasting life for tomorrow.
The Resurrection becomes the motivation, allowing us to be giving great joy and gratitude through our commitment to God and the courage to witness.
This joy means our faith and fruit will overflow from us to others around us! This joy grows in us as we mature in the faith and as we are filled with His Word. This joy is the power to enjoy Him in worship and in lifestyle for His service and glory that affects all aspects of our lives, as well as the lives of those who surround us. Because of Christ, His Word will bring us joy (Ruth 3:2-7; Isa. 9:3; Neh. 8:10; Eccl. 2:18; Matt. 24:21-22, 30; Luke 15:7-10, 32; 17:30; John 14:16-26; 16:12-15; 17:17; Acts 28:16-30; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 7:29; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; 4:7-12; Eph. 1:13-14; 6:16; 4:30; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 3:15-16; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
Why is the Resurrection so Important?
If Jesus is just a dead man, just someone who was a great teacher who lived and then died two thousand years ago, then what is the Church and this Christianity all about? Without a Resurrection, we have no proof of life and the Lordship of Jesus; our faith, preaching, and life is all in vain! Church and Christianity is meaningless (as is anything to do with faith) and becomes worthless. When life is over, it is over; from dust we came, to dust we go, and life itself is vain and meaningless. However, because Jesus is as He says--the risen LORD Christ--we not only have life for eternity, we have a life of worth we can live now, too!
Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully. Keep in mind Jesus spent three years preparing his Disciples for the event. We have to be careful that we do not jump to conclusions with little more information than our feelings and a "sound byte." Know this: our opponents will see our hypocrisy and lack of Fruit and faith (real or not), and they will recognize over-compensation for a misguided theology out of the rubble of our pride or lack of explanation (John 20:26-29; Phil. 3:1-14).
What does the Resurrection mean?
It means life! It means Hope! It proves His case, teachings and claims that our Lord is who He is all true. He IS the God who is here, who lovingly condescends to us, communicates His love and plan as LORD, Savior, Judge, God, Creator, Redeemer, who proves to be our rest for our hope, faith, trust, service and obedience. He solves our most major problem--sin--and appeases God's just wrath for our sin that our judgment is justified and grace is undeserving on our part. He gives us our eternal life and real life for today. He gives us personal and collective power, hope for living, and purpose for life here and now (John 5:22-29; 6:40; Acts 16:31; 17:31; Rom. 1:4; 4:25; 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:14-23, 45; 2 Cor. 4:14; Eph. 1:19-21; 1 Thess. 4:14).
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was the supreme act of proving who He is and what He can do for us! It was the raising to life of a man who was dead and buried, a man who was fully human and fully God (Acts 1:3). The fact that so many people saw Him after His resurrection and the impact of the fatal wounds He received was the proof text for many to come to faith and devote themselves to Christianity over the centuries. Christ paved the way for us to live in eternity and conquer the fatality of death (Luke 24:31; 36; Acts 2:24; 17:31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11,20; 50-57; Philippians 3:21; Hebrews 7:16-24).
Do you realize the magnitude and wonder, the incredible gift beyond measure that we have with our Lord's work and sacrifice?
Our Response to the Resurrection. The question to us and all of humanity is do you believe this? We have the great comfort that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us.
Without the resurrection, we would not have Christianity--no saving faith.
We would have no salvation, no connection to God, no remission of sins, no purpose for life, no hope, no reason for living, and no reason to do evangelism, discipleship, or missions or any other kind of ministry as it would all be futile and meaningless. Without the resurrection, we would have no reason to meet for worship or have a Church, as we would have no message or meaning or ministry; all we would have is futile, a life of emptiness, vanity, and senselessness. We would just be a club and have some great rules and precepts to live by! With the resurrection; we are transformed, and saved for eternity in relationship with God--not just for here and now (John 10:4; 16:10; 2 Cor. 5:20). We are not called to save souls. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Rather, we are called to help the "soul bearers" to learn and grow (Rom. 4:25; 14:8; 1 Cor. 15:1-19; 2 Cor. 5:20-21; Phil 1:23; 2:6-11; 3:10-14)!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/