April 4, 2015
by Peter Amsterdam
At this time of year we celebrate the very heart of our faith—the resurrection of Jesus. It is the central theme of the gospel, the key component which proves the validity of everything Jesus taught. The resurrection tells us that Jesus is the Son of God; that as believers we have salvation and forgiveness, we are God’s children, and we’ll be with Him for eternity in heaven.
The apostle Paul said that if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, then the message of Christianity would be without foundation, and the faith of those who believe would be worthless.1 But as the angel told the women who came to Jesus’ tomb, He has risen from the dead, just as He said He would. This fact validates our belief system and our faith. Jesus is alive! He lives! And because He does, so do we. Jesus said: I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.2
I love that we celebrate Easter and all that it means. I’d like to talk about three effects of the resurrection that are especially meaningful for me.
A sense of renewed awe and wonder
Jesus rising from the grave means that He conquered death, and in doing so, freed us from being bound only to this earth life. Though we presently live in a broken world, we have the promise of a perfect world to come. While we experience heartbreak and disappointment today, our tears and fears will be forever wiped away in our life after this life. He will make all things right. While we presently sometimes struggle with confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty, when we join Him and are in His presence, we will experience joy unspeakable.
This is possible because God, who so deeply loves us and wants us to be in relationship with Him, made a plan by which we could become His children. This plan required God entering this world through a miraculous birth and, after living among us, giving His life for us on the cross—and then rising from the dead. Through the completion of His plan, we can enter into the relationship with Him that we were created for—both now and forever.
That God has made it possible for us to have His presence in our lives now and to dwell in His presence eternally is awesome. The appropriate response on our part is one of eternal gratitude, praise, worship, and adoration, for we have been given the greatest gift possible.
Increased faith for life
I believe that if we think about, meditate on, and appreciate what Jesus’ resurrection meant, what it achieved, and how it has changed our lives forever, we can gain increased faith for every area of our lives. Jesus not only rose from the dead, but He’s in the business of helping us rise above the dead ends, deadwood, and deadweights in our lives.
Sometimes we resign ourselves to situations and circumstances because we feel there’s no hope for change, that things are what they are and that we simply have to endure them. However, God is in the business of changing things, of breathing new life into hearts, relationships, or situations that may be or seem “dead.” Perhaps you’re in a situation that seems out of your control or as if all hope is gone, but no situation is beyond Jesus’ control; His power is unlimited. When Jesus was on earth, He regularly did the impossible. He multiplied the loaves and fishes, walked on water, healed the paralyzed, and gave sight to the blind. Dead people were even raised to life.
Mark Batterson expressed this concept well:
If you read the Gospels, what you discover is this: Jesus routinely reversed the irreversible! He reversed weather systems, He reversed blindness. There were no nerves between the optic nerve and the visual cortex, nothing there, no one had ever heard of a man being born blind and then receiving sight, but Jesus reverses things that are irreversible. He reverses leprosy. 2,000 years ago, He reversed death itself. So what we celebrate is the fact that there is a God who is higher than, who is bigger than, the universal laws and the universe that He has created. What God accomplished on that resurrection morning is He defeated death, He reversed the irreversible. And I would suggest that that is exactly what He came to do in your life. He came to reverse the effects of sin. He came to reverse the effects of death. That’s who He is and what He does.3
Renewed commitment to spread the Good News
Jesus coming to earth, dying on the cross for us, and His subsequent resurrection forever changed the course of history. These actions allowed each of us the opportunity to accept Jesus and become part of God’s family. We should be impressed with how wonderful the gift of salvation is and be moved by the great need to share it with as many as we can. This is the most precious gift anyone can possibly receive, and we who have been blessed with it should feel compelled to share it with others.
It’s easy to get so busy with our responsibilities and daily commitments, and end up feeling that there’s no time left to be one of God’s ambassadors. But is that really the case? Or is it a matter of priorities? When we give careful thought to the magnitude and meaning of the priceless gift God has given us, it motivates us to regularly share it with others.
Receiving Jesus’ gift of salvation and reconciliation is the singularly most important thing that anyone can ever do. It’s a gift that will better their life, heal their heart, give them hope for the future, and enable them to help those that they love, not only here and now, but in the life to come.
Jesus telling His disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world to everyone informs us that He wants each man, woman, and child to have the opportunity to become a part of His family, to be saved from their sins, and to experience His forgiveness and reconciliation. Each of us who has already received His marvelous gift, who know what it is to live within God’s family, to be forgiven for our sins, to have God’s Spirit within us, should feel compelled to share the gospel with those who are searching.
We who believe in the resurrection, have been saved because of the resurrection, and will experience resurrection, should remind ourselves as we celebrate the resurrection of God the Son that we are proclaimers of the risen Christ to those who have not yet heard that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.4