In Part 1 I noted some reflections from John 11:25 and the account of Jesus raising Lazarus. Today I will address some implications of this grand finale of miracles in Jesus’ public ministry.
So What? How Does This Apply To My Life?
- The resurrection demonstrates that the world does not merely consist of mundane principles of cause and effect, physical laws of nature, and social interaction between humans, but is an open system where miracles of God are possible in history and in our present day!
- Christ’s resurrection demonstrates God’s power to transform history’s greatest injustice (the crucifixion) into its greatest good. It is God’s death blow to all sin and provides a basis for believing that evil, at the end of the day, will not have the upper hand.
- Resurrection shatters any possibility that other world religions are true. Rather than reincarnation or annihilation, Christ’s resurrection guarantees our eternal existence after our death because of our faith in the risen One. The bodily resurrection of Jesus brings us hope that we too will someday be raised immortal. Rather than losing all sense of identity, individuality, and personhood through absorption into some divine Self (Hinduism) or nothingness (Buddhism), the resurrection of Jesus Christ assures us that we will be raised with an immortal body (see Phil. 2:21; 1 Jn. 3:3) and will retain our personal identity. Rather than another round of life in some body as in reincarnation, resurrection is the beginning of life eternal with a new body. Reincarnation maintains that death is a repeated experience. Christ’s resurrection shows that death as our last enemy (1 Cor. 15:26) has been defeated.
- In every case where the Gospel was proclaimed in Acts, the resurrection was part of the storyline and must also be part of our Gospel presentation (see Acts:2:24, 31; 3:15; 4:10, 33; 5:30; 7:55-56; 9:1-9; 10:40; 13:30-37; 17:31).
- Though the resurrection of our bodies likely does not occur at our death but instead at Christ’s coming (1 Corinthians 15:23), we can be sure that when we receive our resurrected bodies, they will be like Jesus’s resurrected body (Philippians 3:20-21). Resurrection guarantees that death does not have the final word. Just as Lazarus did not stay dead, so too Christ’s resurrection assures us that we too will be raised and that something better does indeed lie beyond our existence here on earth (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:54-57)
- Not only is our future resurrection guaranteed, but so will our believing friends and family members also be raised. We will be reunited with them (1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thess. 4:14).
- Upon being born-again we immediately participate in a new quality of life, which is empowered by the resurrection (Rom. 6:4-8; Eph. 1:18-19; Philip. 3:10) and this new empowered life gives us strength for holy living (1 Jn 3:2-3; also Eph 1:22-23).
- Because Christ rose and ascended, the bestowal of spiritual gifts for authentic Christian service empowers the Church (Eph. 4:7-10) and provides us with the ability to live a fulfilled life by serving in Christ’s Body.
- The desire to live forever is fully satisfied in the historical reality of Jesus’ resurrection and the inspired Word of God. The Bible admits that “something’s not right” and gives the reason (Gen. 3). Christianity is realistic by affirming this present world is not the best possible world. But, like no other religion has done, Christianity provides real hope for the present and the future. The psychological reality of hope in a resurrected life is tied directly to the historical reality that Jesus is risen. This is no wishful thinking, but is hope realized.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
(Col. 3:1-4, NLT)