Much emphasis has been placed upon the death of Jesus, but there is little understanding of His resurrection.
Many people have focused their Christianity upon the death of Jesus, but they have failed to come to an understanding of the victory found in the resurrection.
A large portion of the church sees little or no significance to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – besides the fact that it happened! The emphasis is mainly placed on His death and because of this, many have missed out on the great truths and significance TO US in His resurrection.
We’ve majored on the cross and neglected the rest.
Now, some may think, ‘But that is what we are supposed to do isn’t it? Aren’t ‘supposed to’ major on the cross?’
If we major on the cross and the death, we will neglect the powerful truths found in the rest of what He did. We need to major where the Bible majors. In the book of Acts, they preached the resurrection of Jesus! [pullquote]In the book of Acts, they preached the resurrection of Jesus![/pullquote]
Actually Jesus did more than go to the cross:
1) He died – and it is important for us to understand what happened at His death and what He accomplished when He died
2) He was buried
3) He was Raised from the Dead. We also need to understand the Resurrection. There are powerful Bible truths that we learn from His resurrection from the dead.
4) He ascended into heaven and was seated at the Father’s Right hand
As you will see in this article, we are supposed to major on the resurrection, not just the cross. Jesus did not JUST ‘die for me’ He was ‘raised for me’ too.
:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Notice that the Apostles ‘…gave witness to the resurrection…’
They did not just go every where and preach that Jesus had died. That would not have caused much response.
Everyone knew He had died, it had only just happened in Jerusalem, but what caught people’s attention was the news that Jesus had been raised from the dead. They preached the resurrection. They went about declaring that Jesus had died AND that He had been raised from the dead.
These days we focus on Jesus’ death. We tell people that Jesus ‘died for them’
That is true, but there is more to it than that. Let’s present the full message to people when we are witnessing to them. When the Disciples of Jesus went out and preached after Jesus ascended into heaven, the thing that caused a great stir was the Resurrection of Jesus.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
These verses do not say that in order to be saved you must believe there is a God, although that is necessary. It does not say you must simply believe in Jesus or believe that He died.
This indicates very specifically that in order to be saved, you MUST believe THAT God raised Jesus from the dead.
Our salvation is dependant upon believing the resurrection, not just the death.
If we just tell people that, ‘Jesus died for them’, we are not giving them the basis for faith for salvation, since salvation comes by believing that ‘God has raised Him from the dead,’
Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), so if we are not preaching the Resurrection and the resurrected Christ to the unsaved, then they cannot have faith to be saved.
Telling people that Jesus died for them is good, but you MUST complete it by telling them they He was raised from the dead as well.
A study of the early church will quickly show the prominence they placed upon the resurrection. They preached ‘the Resurrection’. They were witnesses of the resurrection.
Acts 3:15, 26 ; 4:10, 33 ; 10:40 ; 13:30-37 ; 17:31
Romans 4:24,25 ; 6:4,9 ; 7:4 ; 8:11 ; 10:9
1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14
Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12
1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2;8; 1 Peter 1:21
They hardly preached a message – to individuals or groups – without mentioning the resurrection. It is in the resurrection that the POWER is found. Many have died, but Jesus arose from the dead!
Peter’s first message on the Day of Pentecost focused on the resurrection of Christ:
:23 “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
:24 “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
:25 “For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
:26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
:27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
:28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
:30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
:31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
:32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
:33 “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
These days about all many Christians know about the resurrection is simply that ‘it happened’, but the Bible shows that there are important New Testament truths connected to His resurrection that we need to understand.
Many are only just coming to the place where they are seeing what was involved in Jesus being our substitute in death. The whole realm of what He did for us in His resurrection has remained untapped.
We need to understand more than just the death of Jesus, we need to see Him as the resurrected Saviour. He is no longer on the cross, He is no longer in the grave. Those were important parts of His work, but He did not stay dead.
He arose, and His resurrection is a VITAL part of our salvation. It was not just at His death that He did something for us, but also at His resurrection.
The same Bible that teaches He died for us and we died with Him also teaches that His resurrection benefits us as well.
We are participants in His resurrection according to the scriptures.
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul shows that the Resurrection of Christ is foundational to our Christianity
1 Corinthians 15:3,4
:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
:4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
The message is one of death, burial AND resurrection, not just the death of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:13-19
:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
:14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
:15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up–if in fact the dead do not rise.
:16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
:17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
:18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
In these verses, Paul poses a hypothetical scenario that would be so ‘if’ Jesus had not been raised from the dead. He basically shows that without the resurrection, the rest would all mean nothing!
According to Paul ‘if’ Christ was not raised then:
A) Our preaching is vain ( :14)
Without the resurrection, the gospel becomes one of death, not life, emptied of it’s power. The resurrection brought the Victory over death
B) Your Faith is empty ( :14 )
If Christ did not rise, then all we have in Christ by faith is not ours!
C) The Apostles are false witnesses ( :15 )
The early Apostles were witnesses of the Resurrection (Acts 1:21,22) so if there is no resurrection, then the Apostles are liars, and the entire fabric of scriptural truth breaks down, having no authority, because everything they preached would have been a lie (without the resurrection)
D) Believers are still in their sins ( :17 )
Without the resurrection, Christ has no more saving power than any other figure in history. The resurrection showed the justifying power of His death. Freedom from sin is dependant upon the resurrection
E) Those who have died have perished ( :18-19 )
Without the resurrection, we have no hope in death, nor did the martyrs of Christianity
Here Paul states that it all falls apart if there is no resurrection! Without the resurrection our hope In Christ is really just a vain hope we hold to in this life, with no real promise of the life that is to come! (1 Corinthians 15:19)
The death and the resurrection go together.
Jesus’ death and resurrection go together, they are like two sides of a coin. If Jesus had stayed in the tomb, and had not arisen victorious over death, then we would never have benefited from His death.
Without the death, as a sacrifice, the resurrection would have no saving power for us but without the resurrection, Jesus death would have meant nothing to us because it was in the resurrection that the death became significant.
Some have tried to take the resurrection out of the story, but we need the death and the resurrection to complete the picture.
There are TWO parts of what Jesus did for you:
:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
Notice the phrases, ‘delivered us from’ and, ‘conveyed us into’
Jesus did not just set us free FROM some things, He also brought us INTO some things.
These are two aspects of the work. We are not just translated out of darkness. God did not deliver us from darkness to leave us somewhere in the middle of light and dark, He brings us OUT to bring is IN.
We are translated out of death into life, out of darkness and into light.
The perfect illustration of this is the children of Israel in the Old Testament. God delivered them OUT of Egypt, to bring them INTO the promised land.
He had to deal with the sin and death in our lives in order to bring us into life. Jesus did not just pay for our sins, He brought us into life.
1) He dealt with death, sin and the devil – the negative issues
2) He brought us into life – the positive side
Thank God for what He brought us out of, but let’s also get excited about what He has translated us into.
‘He died for my sins’
As we mentioned earlier in this article, most of the time Christians focus on the fact that ‘Jesus died for my sins’. That is true.
However we need to ask
He DIED for my sins so why was He raised?
He brought us OUT of sin and death, but what did He bring us INTO?
The church at large is focused on what He has brought us out of. They focus on the fact that He died ‘for my sins’. Thank God for that, but in the resurrection lies the revelation of what He brought us into.
:24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
:25 who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised because of our justification.
He was delivered up (killed) BECAUSE of our offences and was raised BECAUSE of our justification.
The words ‘because of’ show the reason.
In other words the REASON He died was because of our offences (sins)
And the REASON He was raised was because of our justification
So when people say, ‘Jesus died for my sins’ they are correct, but they are only telling half of the Gospel truth. He not only died ‘for’ my sins, but He was raised ‘for’ my justification.
Justification has to do with being made righteous, being brought into right relationship with God. (we will be studied elsewhere)
He dealt with my sin AND He brought me into right relationship with God.
Many Christians who have not been taught this properly only have an understanding of the fact that He died for my sins, so they know that part, but they still have not stepped into confidence of a right relationship with God, because they don’t know anything about righteousness (justification)
The death of Jesus takes us OUT, His resurrection brings us INTO.
His death deals with the darkness and His resurrection brings us into light.
It is because of the resurrection that we are made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
:21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins and redeemed us from death, but His resurrection opens the way for us to be raised into newness of life.
The cross is about death. It is the negative side of what He did, and was a necessary part of what He did because we had sinned.
However the GOAL was not the cross. His goal was to pay for our sins, so that He could take us through the cross to a resurrection.
The death deals with the negative so that He can bring us into the positives that God has for us.
In Acts, the church preached the resurrection, but many churches today preach primarily the death of Jesus. The focus is different.
The resurrection is really where the victory occurred, so when you focus on the death, you will end up with a sin conscious Christianity, rather than a victorious Christianity.
If all we do is preach the death of Jesus we will only focus on the part of what Jesus did that dealt with the negative in our lives. What about the positives God has for us?
So far we have just started looking at the importance of the resurrection.
In part two of this series of articles, we will talk specifically about what the Bible refers to as, ‘The Power of His resurrection.
This article, along with others by the same author can be found at www.exceedingfaith.com
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.
(C) 2008 Exceeding Faith Ministries International & O. Walton.
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