The Resurrection of Jesus
Today, a multitude of churches around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday. I believe it is important to understand that this is a “holy day” of men, not of God. Nowhere in the Bible are followers of Christ instructed to observe such a day (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11; Gal. 1:8-9; Rev. 22:18-19). We are commanded to observe Jesus’ death (I Cor. 11:23-29; Acts 20:7), but not His resurrection (Matt. 28:18-20; I Cor. 4:6).
However, since the resurrection of Jesus is on the minds of so many today I think it would be an appropriate time to consider what the New Testament does reveal to us about this great and miraculous event in history.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most important truths contained in all of Scripture! It is an essential part of preaching the gospel to the world (I Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16). The apostle Paul includes an impressive list of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection in I Corinthians 15:5-8.
Just how important is the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Well, if Jesus did not in fact rise from the dead, then Paul tells us that: the preaching of the apostles’ is empty, the Christian’s faith is empty, it makes the apostles false witnesses of God, the Christian is still in his sins, those who have died in Christ have perished, and “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable” (I Cor. 15:14-19).
Paul immediately follows these points with a victorious declaration – “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20). Indeed, because of the truth and reality of Jesus’ resurrection, “the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).
Please give careful and sober consideration to what Jesus said in verse 29. Some will experience the resurrection of life, while others the resurrection of condemnation. What will determine the outcome for you and me? Jesus says whether we have done good or evil in this life (cf. Rom. 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:10).
Are you presently practicing righteousness in your life or unrighteousness (Rom. 6:13-18)? To do “good” is to do the will of the Father, and to do “evil” is to practice lawlessness (Matt. 7:21-23). It is right to be thankful and joyous about the resurrection of Jesus. It is proper that our faith should be strengthened immensely by it. But it is also right and proper to pause and give some serious reflection to our future resurrection, and where we will spend our eternity.