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Resurrection - what does it mean for you?

by Unknown

The modern Jesus-image

There are surely very few people who still doubt the existence of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago, but there are many who have the opinion that the historical Jesus was certainly quite different from the Jesus of the Bible. This view is well represented, even up into some theological circles. I am amazed again and again about the "courage" or "frankness" of people who want to know after so many centuries more about the historical Jesus than the Patristic who lived close to the apostolic age, some of them had still known the Apostle John.

They agreed in their writings with the reports of the Gospels. In contrast, the proponents of such a different kind of historical Jesus don't have a consistent picture of Jesus with each other again, but almost as many different images of Jesus exist there is the same number of people who have represented this view, which speaks for the lack of evidence for their view. But that does not prevent representing their opinions, and they often find pendants among men, who do not "enjoy" the biblical Jesus and his claims.

Not a few see in Jesus - depending on the focus - an idealist, philanthropist, pacifist, socialist, humanist, and whatever else is quite as worthy of imaginary names. But when it comes to the claim of Jesus to be Messiah, Son of God, Savior, this Jesus, for many becomes the "stumbling block", over which they stumble. And even fewer people are convinced of the resurrection of this man!

In this context, the reactions are also different. Some make it easy for themselves and explain the resurrection as an invention of early Christians. Because "what cannot be, that must not be". They do not even try to explain how a small group of people lying on the ground, completely shaken and stunned in their messianic hopes (Luke 24:17 +21; Mark 16:11 +13), threatened by destruction, to be suddenly set up a group of bright hope, with assurance of salvation, with courage changed (by an invention?), as the group was willing to give their lives (for an invention?) and some set in motion which the history of mankind until today is shaping (owing to an invention?). How can these people explain such a change? Only psychologically? (Acts 4:13 +19-20; 5:29).

Others tried it with explanations of delusions including fraud; they spoke of a merely apparent death of Jesus, by a kind of paralysis, which later disappeared, and Jesus had then left the country; some stated that they had executed a representative person instead of Jesus; the crucified was not Jesus at all, and so on - what more else attempts of explanation exist (Matthew 27:62-64, 28:11-15). Unfortunately, there are also people who describe themselves as Christians, who appreciate Jesus as a good man, but do not accept the resurrection of Jesus. For those Paul really brings the matter to the point:

1. Corinthians 15:17-19 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

How Paul estimates the Resurrection of Jesus

For Paul, the resurrection is the "sine qua non", that is, without it there is no Christian faith. It is test and hope simultaneously. Without the resurrection, you are still dead in sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1) living without God and hope, only to physical death, having no answer to the question of the meaning of life. But Paul could say triumphantly:

1. Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead ...;

he could verify for his contemporaries, a number of witnesses for the fact of the resurrection of Jesus (1. Corinthians 15:5-8), taking the women who first saw Jesus, not mentioned at all, because their testimony at that time was considered inconclusive. But of course they could also testify to the resurrection in private conversation. Therefore, there are scholars who argue that no historically event is witnessed as well as the resurrection of Jesus for everyone who wants to see and hear.

And what does this resurrection for you, dear reader?

Angels were the first who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24:5-6). His kind of resurrection was different from those previously reported resurrections in the Bible; therefore, could also be said that he was the first-fruits of them that slept (1. Corinthians 15:20); this expression leads to the conclusion that other will share in the equity of His resurrection (Romans 6:5). The certainty of the resurrection of Jesus has for you and me first of all the impact, that Paul pointed out on the Corinthians:

1. Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

Why? Because of the resurrection, which Paul discussed a detailed chapter length, the resurrection, which he himself has made of one inveterate persecutor of Christians to a staunch standard-bearer of Jesus Christ. The power of the resurrection of Jesus supported him constantly (Philippians 3:10).

We will be exposed to temptations and doubts in our daily lives constantly; our faith is under attack by all sorts of powers, gets perhaps sometimes into falter. Then we must remind confidently: Christ, our Lord has risen! He truly has risen! And we gain new courage and strength, are strengthened in order to strengthen others! Jesus is alive, and He assured: I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me will live, ... because I live, ye also (John 11:25-26 live; 14:19).

Our work for Jesus is not in vain because He is alive! Our life has a meaning, because He lives! When we read in the small circle, in twos or threes (Matthew 18:20), the Bible together and discuss, He is present: because He lives! (Besides, He is there, even if disapproves the "faithful and discreet slave", the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses, this kind of independent Bible reading).

Because He lives, your life is not futile

If you are depressed, if your feelings are in the basement, where you may see no way out: go to Him, because He lives! Even if we do not always feel it: He's alive! He is the living Lord (Matthew 28:18-19); you are safe in His hand (John 10:28-29), because He lives! Even though violence and evil, injustice and terror in the world, seem to be increasing, do not resigne: Jesus is alive and He is the Lord! He has risen! So we have to announce a truly good news! To do this we are sent! It is gospel! Therefore be not discouraged, whatever happens to you; do not fall victim to depression, do not sink into sadness, do not go down in suffering: Jesus is alive!

In this way the resurrection of Jesus can and should operate in our personal life. But it also has chaplain implications. First there is the assurance of our own resurrection:

2. Corinthians 4:14 ... because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

The resurrection is also the basis of Christian rebirth, like Peter shows in 1 Peter 1:3. He declares at this point the relationship between the two clearly. We could only be born again through Jesus' resurrection. Would have Jesus not risen, there was no rebirth for any human being, there was no single Christian.

Why should you follow a dead man?

There were great men in human history, many philosophers, scientists, artists, humanists, educators, philanthropists, etc., but finally hit on them all to the words of Psalm 146:3-4; their good plans, their best intentions vanished with them. But Jesus has risen and He lives and He is Lord. Due to the impact of the same force that retracted Jesus from the dead, we too are already in Him raised (Ephesians 2:4-6). Therefore, Paul writes:

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, ...

Why look, what is aloft?

What is aloft? Christ and what belongs to Him. And where Christ is, there is the life, and we are looking for life! This is for a man natural. Whoever wants to continue his ancient life in far distance to God, continuing sins and transgressions (Romans 6:1-13)? Christ has freed us by His death and His resurrection brought us to life; for that reason we should want to live for him (2. Corinthians 5:14-15). And even if we stumble, we have an advocate, because Jesus is alive! (1. John 2:1-2).

The connection between justification and resurrection gets cleared in Romans 4:25: He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Through Jesus' sacrifice believers are justified before God (Romans 3:24; 4:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Righteousness by grace through faith (Romans 10:10). Thus, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). And for our justification, He has been raised, or rather, His resurrection enables our justification. God confirmed through the resurrection of His Son His earthly work as a completely, absolutely sufficient for the rescue of believers. He said yes to Christ's deed, just as in Christ all God's promises are made to the Yes (2. Corinthians 1:19-20). Therefore, we got to stand with frankness before God, through our Mediator Jesus Christ, who rose, who lives for you and for me, and we for Him!


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© R. Hentschel ♦ Released: 2008-06-15 ♦ Print versionLinks to other web sites