1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4, NIV
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant and amazing events in all of history! Nothing like it has ever happened before and nothing like it will ever happen again. It’s a central and foundational truth for all believers, the cornerstone of our faith. I remember being sad when I saw the musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ because it ended with Jesus hanging on a cross – not with the resurrected Christ. How interesting that the last the world saw of Jesus Christ was Him hanging on a cross. And some Christians today believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, but don’t believe in His bodily resurrection.
Yet in the Gospels we read about the empty tomb, the broken seal, the rolled away stone, the surprised guard, the missing body, the empty grave clothes, the transformed disciples and of course the powerful explosion of the Christian Church that followed. Unequivocal proofs that Jesus rose from the dead, and will return again in glory!
As I reflected on the resurrection earlier this year, I sensed God prompting me to never preach about the cross on its own, but always share the other half of God’s redemptive plan – the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ! It’s because of the resurrection, in which Jesus powerfully overcame death, that we can say ‘Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55).
We absolutely cannot separate the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are two halves of a whole. One precedes the other. One completes the other. Both halves are essential in completing God’s redemptive plan – and an incomplete redemption would be no redemption at all!
A balanced and full gospel must include both His saving death and His saving resurrection life, because Jesus’ death alone doesn’t save us. If Jesus had stayed dead, then we too would remain dead in our sins, there would be no forgiveness and there would be no reconciliation with God. If Jesus had stayed dead, then to put our trust in Him would be completely useless. Our faith would be in vain.
But Jesus did rise again, conquering sin and death forevermore, and making it possible for us to share in His resurrection and enjoy eternal life with Him. He is Holy, without spot or blemish, and therefore it was absolutely impossible for death to hold him down. This is because death comes out of sin, and He was sinless – death had no hold on Him and victoriously He rose again! It’s His death and resurrection together that’s the good news – salvation for all mankind! And it’s His death and resurrection together that we must proclaim as of first importance, that all may believe and be saved.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times that I’ve doubted the truth of Your Word, especially where I’ve doubted Your resurrection. I declare today – I believe that You bodily rose again! Thank You for saving and redeeming me. I gratefully rejoice in Your completed redemption plan and I look forward to the day of Your return, In Jesus’ name, Amen.