It seems that, in modern church culture, we focus much on the sacrifice of Jesus, maybe on his life, and seldom on his resurrection. When I hear gospel presentations or apologetic discourses, I hear a good deal about Jesus’ claims and his crucifixion, I even hear a good deal about the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in his life, but it seems that those are often followed up with the resurrection as an, “O, by the way…,” afterthought.
But the writers of Scripture, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, are most certainly focused on the resurrection. It is the fact that Jesus walked out of the tomb that is the key to their being convinced of the true identity of Jesus and the fact of his promises.
Look here at Paul’s greeting in Romans.
Romans 1:3-4 – 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
How does Paul know that Jesus really is who he says he is? Jesus was declared to be the Son of God in power through his resurrection. The fact that Jesus rose from the grave proves that all the other claims about Jesus are true. The fact of the resurrection is at the core of our belief.
I wonder, then, why we do not spend more of our energy in modern discussions talking about the resurrection. I have debated with people the morality of predestination, the righteousness of God’s commands, the philosophical rationale for belief in a Creator, the significance of the age of the universe, the historical reasoning for the reliability of Scripture, and so many other things. And in general, I believe those discussions to be good things. But at the end of the day, whether talking to a struggling believer or a disinterested agnostic, there is really one truth that is at the center of our belief. The important question is, “Did Jesus rise from the dead?”
Did Jesus rise from the dead? If he did, then what do you do with him? If Jesus walked out of the tomb, then he is different than any other human being. In fact, if Jesus walked out of the tomb, he is the very God he claims to be. If Jesus walked out of the tomb, he is the Son of God who gave his life as a sacrifice for the sins of God’s children. If Jesus gave his life as the only sacrifice for sins that can make a person right with God, then we are responsible to get under that grace or be lost. We are responsible to obey God’s command to repent of sin and believe in Jesus. We are responsible to call Jesus our Lord and find our life in him.
Perhaps, the next time a friend or family member wants to debate religion with you, it would be good to start with the question of the resurrection. Ask them what they do with the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection is the proof of Jesus’ identity and authority.