Dear members and friends of VP,
April is one of my favorite months of the year. I always look forward to the end of the rainy season followed by warmer weather and new growth of vegetation. Especially, I love to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The resurrection is the most significant event in history because it is the only historically documented evidence of the possibility of victory over death once we die. For Christians, hope beyond death based upon evidence of the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation for real hope. Resurrection hope changes our understanding of reality and should inform our most important commitments in life. What is resurrection hope and how does it change our understanding of life?
Before understanding how resurrection changes us, we must first understand what resurrection means. The following involves what we mean by resurrection.
- The resurrection of Jesus was not resuscitation. In other words, it did not involve Jesus coming back to the same kind of life he had before death. Resurrection involves a new body with similarities to our earthly body but with huge differences. The most basic difference is that it will not have a sin nature and it will not be subject to dying again. It will be a body that will never again be subjected to death.
- The resurrection of Jesus was resurrection of a real body. In other words, Jesus’ resurrected body could be touched (Luke 24:36-40; John 20:27-28). He could prepare a meal (21:9-10) and eat and enjoy fellowship (Luke 24:41-43; John 21:12-14). The resurrected body of Jesus was fully capable of enjoying life and friends just as we all have in this life (John 21:15-19).
- The resurrection of Jesus was with a body that was not totally like the bodies we know. In other words, Jesus appeared in rooms without using a door to enter (Luke 24:36-37; John 20:19-20), He disappeared after talking to people (Luke 24:28-31) and ascended into heaven while people were watching (Acts 18:9-10). These are not the kind of things a human being can do.
We understand our resurrected body will be immortal but designed for life lived on a new earth. The difference will be that our new body will be designed to live without pain, suffering, sickness, sin, or death in a world where there will be no evil. The Apostle John was cautious about explaining the nature of the resurrected body though he knew it was the body we would inherit from Jesus.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared, as yet, what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” I John 3:2
So, how is our understanding of reality changed because of our resurrection hope? Confidence in the truth of the resurrection of Jesus informs the following deductions for me about the substance of life:
- The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the ultimate legitimization of Jesus’ understanding of death and what is necessary to overcome it. Jesus taught that He came into the world to die for sin (Mat. 20:28; 26:1-2; Mark 10:45) and that He would conquer death (Mat 12:40; 27:63; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; John 2:19). No man has ever made a promise so bold and precise followed by fulfilling it in the public eye. I am convinced, because of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death that He knows the meaning of life and what it takes to conquer it better than any person who has ever lived.
- Once Jesus’ authority over death is so clearly established and Jesus’ authority so strongly confirmed, I am persuaded that I must trust Jesus to teach me about the meaning of life in detail. The resurrection compels me to know and understand Jesus intimately and to listen to cherish every word He spoke. If life has a purpose that is difficult to discern, Jesus has proved He understands it. Resurrection facts draw me to the feet of Jesus as the teacher I need most. I must be His disciple and His apprentice. I must be a Christ-follower.
Celebrating the resurrection is to celebrate the reason for our real hope after death. Celebrating the resurrection means celebrating the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ. He knows and understands the meaning of life and what we need to conquer it. Celebrating the resurrection offers opportunity to reevaluate our commitment to Jesus as the author of new life. While we celebrate what Jesus has done and proved through His resurrection, we should be compelled to express an attitude of gratitude for what He did to establish us as victorious over the things of this life and death. Thanks be to God for the resurrection of Jesus.
Happy Resurrection Month,