The resurrection of Jesus: what it means for us
Submitted by Nicholas
2 Apr 2018
Our Bible Talk on Sunday 1st April considered the resurrection of Jesus. Today it seems not many people believe the Bible account. Yet the reality of the resurrection is of critical importance to any future hope for a Christian.
According to a 2017 survey, a quarter of Christians say the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, with only 17% of the population. Perhaps more surprisingly, a 2002 study suggested doubt among the clergy was even higher, perhaps even as much as a third.
Yet the Bible account is clear. Clear not only that Jesus died and rose from the dead, but that this is of absolute importance to everything else in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15 deals extensively with the resurrection. Here God, speaking through Paul, says, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14 NKJV). And in verse 18, "Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished”.
So it’s clear: no resurrection of Christ; no hope for anyone else. No point in religion at all.
The reverse is true. The chapter goes on, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" (v22,23). We naturally inherit death because we are children of Adam. Adam brought death into the world through his disobedience to God. But if we become children of Christ, we can share his victory over death - but only because, amongst other things, we believe in his resurrection.
Our talk considered the impact of a book originally published in 1930, entitled “Who moved the stone?”. The author, Frank Morison, was a journalist who set out to examine the Bible accounts of Jesus’ resurrection with considerable scepticism. He ended up, entirely against his expectations, convinced they must be true. His very well-argued book remains well-worth reading today (it can be read online as well as ordered in paperback).
He examines various claims against the resurrection, including the following:
- The women who first saw the resurrected Jesus went to the wrong tomb, an empty one, and wrongly concluded he had risen.
- Jesus did not really die, but revived after being put in the tomb.
- The body of Jesus was removed from the tomb by someone.
His answers to these claims include:
- How could a man laid to rest as dead have had the strength to roll away the great stone from the mouth of the tomb and then convince people he had been raised?
- The Jewish authorities were strongly opposed to the idea that Jesus had risen, and if they could have produced his body they would have done so.
- The apostles suffered much from the authorities for preaching that Jesus rose from the dead. They must have been thoroughly convinced that he had, which rules out the idea that they had taken his body from the grave and pretended that he had risen.
The resurrection of Jesus is absolutely central to the rest of Bible teaching. None of the promises and covenants could have been fulfilled without it. To deny it makes God a liar, and without it there is no hope. Yet there is no other logical conclusion.