THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
by Wayne S. Walker
"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). One of the momentous, if not the single most momentous, event in all human history, has to be the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Paul says that it is so important that we must believe it to be saved. If the resurrection were not an actual event, then everything else in the scriptures is false and falls as a giant hoax. However, if the resurrection is true, then Jesus is the Son of God, the Bible is the inspired revelation from the Lord, and we can trust in the power of Jehovah Almighty to save us.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is central to the message of the New Testament. It is the concluding scene in each of the gospels. Every other biography of human beings ends with the death and burial of the subject, perhaps some things that people said after his death, and maybe a few result of the fact that this person lived. However, this is not the case with Jesus Christ. After He died and was buried, three days later the tomb was empty and angels told some women, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!" (Luke 24:6-7). And no one has ever produced any evidence to the contrary which demonstrates this claim to be false.
The resurrection was a central point of every gospel sermon recorded in Acts save one. When the gospel was preached for the very first time, Peter said of Jesus, "Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He would be held by it.," and then provided the evidence to back up his claim, including the statement, "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:24, 32). And it is mentioned in nearly every book in the New Testament. Even in the final inspired writing of God’s word, John affirmed that the Apocalypse was from One who lived, was dead, and is now alive forevermore (Revelation 1:18). Truly, the Bible becomes less than meaningless without the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
In fact, many new Testament concepts are based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We believe that Jesus Christ is divine because He was "declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4). Christ’s headship over the church is based on the fact that God "raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:20-23). He is our High Priest through whom people can be saved to the uttermost because "He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:20-25). And whatever hope of heaven that we can have, we have been begotten to it "through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3-5).
So the issue boils down to the question, is the resurrection of Christ from the dead a historical fact? There are several theories that have been advanced in an attempt to explain the circumstances while still denying the actuality of the resurrection–Jesus merely swooned, the women went to the wrong tomb, people just thought they saw the resurrected Lord, Jesus appeared after His death but only as a spirit, someone stole the body–and we shall examine some of these in future articles. However, there is much solid evidence to validate the resurrection. There were Old Testament prophecies concerning it, such as in Psalm 16:8-11, which is quoted by Peter on Pentecost as having been fulfilled in Christ. Again, there is the repeated witness of the apostles (Acts 10:38-42). And there is even the testimony of one of the greatest persecutors of the church, Saul of Tarsus, who claimed to have seen Jesus after His death and became one of the greatest promoters of the faith (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
Once more, we shall study all this evidence with greater detail in succeeding articles. However, the basic purpose of this introductory article on the subject has been to show the supremacy of the resurrection to the lives of those who claim to believe in and follow Jesus. One cannot truly be a Christian without believing what the Bible says about Christ, and that includes His resurrection from the dead. As Christians, we believe in a God who is able to raise the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). Therefore, it is no great thing that we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, confess it openly before men, and stake our very lives upon its truthfulness. (—taken from With All Boldness; July, 2001; Vol. 11, No. 7; p. 14)