Today, as we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it behoves us to meditate on the importance and blessings of that amazing event in the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. To stir our minds to rejoice with thanksgiving, I would like to share with you the fivefold significance of Christ’s resurrection.
First, Christ’s resurrection proved His divine Sonship.
The apostle Paul wrote concerning Christ, who “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh”, that He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4). It’s not that Jesus Christ wasn’t the Son of God prior to His resurrection. He is the eternal Son of God (Ps. 2:7, 12; Pr. 30:4). When Christ came in the flesh, He set aside the full expression and use of His divine glory and prerogatives. Paul explains it in Philippians 2:5-8 this way: “Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Certainly, His virgin birth, miracles and teaching all bore witness to His deity. The ultimate, irrefutable evidence of the divine Sonship of Christ was the power with which He resurrected from the dead. His bodily resurrection from the grave on the third day was the supreme demonstration of His divine power over sin, death and Satan. Such power can only belong to God, and thus His resurrection proved beyond all doubt that He was indeed God the Son. In fact, Peter asserted in his sermon on the day of Pentecost that Christ being the Son of God, it was impossible that He remained dead in the grave – “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). It was not possible for Christ to be held by death. Death and grave could not keep the omnipotent Christ under their power. He rose from the grave, as a divine declaration that Christ – who was crucified and died – was indeed the Son of God, truly divine!
Second, Christ’s resurrection guarantees our justification.
Romans 4:25 declares that Christ “was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.” Because His resurrection has secured our justification, we are no more under God’s condemnation. So, Romans 8:34 asks, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” His resurrection and ascension guaranteed the cancellation of God’s handwriting that was against us because of our sin. Colossians 2:13-14 says, “And you, being dead in your sins…, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us…” If Christ did not resurrect, we would still be in our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Third, Christ’s resurrection assures us that our Saviour now lives and intercedes for us.
This truth is taught by the apostle Paul in Rom. 8:34 – “Christ that died… is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Heb. 7:25 testifies that Christ’s present intercession on the right hand of the Father in heaven is an assuring truth – “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The risen Christ now lives in heaven to intercede for us. Heb. 9:24 explains it thus: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us”.
Fourth, Christ’s resurrection power renews and empowers us to live a new life.
The apostle Paul explains this truth in Romans 6:4 – “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” All of us, who have been united to (“baptised into”) Christ by the Spirit baptism at the time when we first trusted Him, are dead with Him to sin and are spiritually raised up to live a spiritually new life in Christ. Later, in Rom. 6:8–11, Paul further describes the new life in Christ – “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are not the same people we once were. We who were dead in our trespasses and sins have been made alive together with Christ (cf. Eph. 2:2, 5)!
Fifth, Christ’s resurrection grants us a glorious hope of our future resurrection.
1 Cor. 15:20–23 declares, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Likewise, the apostle Paul instructs us in 1 Thess 4:13–14, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” In the words of the apostle Peter, it is the “lively hope” that Christ’s resurrection pledges unto us – “… his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).