The Practical Implications of Christ’s Resurrection
Followers of historic Christianity believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, a belief that the church has traditionally celebrated on “Easter” Sunday. The historical fact of Christ’s physical resurrection from the dead is an objective reality attested to by powerful historical evidences. Those evidences include such things as: the implausibility of the various arguments used by skeptics and biblical critics to explain away the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances; the post-resurrection appearances of Christ to multiple eyewitnesses (who had not expected Him to rise again) over a period of 40 days; the fact that witnesses to the resurrection were able to see, hear, and touch the risen Christ, who did some very physical things such as eat food in the presence of His disciples; etc. (See Luke 24:36-43; Acts 1:3; First Corinthians 15:4-8; First John 1:1-3; etc.)
As I recall someone once saying, there is more solid historical evidence for the physical resurrection of Christ than there is for the fact that George Washington was the first President of the United States.
But so what? Most people believe that George Washington was the first President of the United States, and most would probably agree that there is solid historical evidence to support this belief. But I suspect that few people feel directly impacted in their daily lives by the historical fact of George Washington’s presidency. Why should the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection be any different? How should that fact impact our lives today in the 21st century? What are the practical implications of Christ’s resurrection? While I could write many things about this topic, I will limit myself to just a few of the practical implications of Christ’s resurrection.
(1) The resurrection of Christ proves Him to be the Son of God and Savior whom He claimed to be, and thus it proves His teachings to be true.
Christ’s resurrection vindicates His Person and His teachings. This is very important to consider, because many of the teachings ascribed to our Lord in the Gospels would be regarded today as controversial, highly offensive, narrow, perhaps even “bigoted.”
For example, Christ taught that He Himself is the one and only means of salvation that God has provided for mankind (see John 14:6). How bigoted and exclusive of Him!
He taught that the way of salvation was narrow and difficult and that few would find it (see Matthew 7:13-14). (This is the case because it requires that we renounce our trust in ourselves and our own righteousness, and trust solely in His merit alone — something that strikes at the heart of human pride and self-righteousness — see Luke 18:9-14.) How narrow-minded of Him!
In His teaching about marriage our Lord Jesus grounded His definition of marriage in the created order and stated it to be between a man and a woman (see Matthew 19:3-9). How ignorant and “homophobic” of Him! What a “hater” He was!
Jesus also taught that the Scriptures are the final authority, that they are the standard of truth, and thus (by implication) that they cannot err (see, for example, Matthew 4:4, 7, and 10; 5:17-19; John 17:17; etc.). What a “bibliolater” and “fundamentalist” Jesus was!
Sarcasm aside, the point of all of this is that if we claim to believe in Christ’s resurrection, but then take a cafeteria approach to His teachings (accepting those of His teachings which we like, but dismissing those teachings which we find offensive), we are, at best, acting inconsistently, if not hypocritically. One of the practical implications of Christ’s resurrection is that believing in this truth obligates us to accept Christ as the Son of God and Savior whom He claimed to be, and affirming the absolute truthfulness of all He taught, no matter how offensive His teachings might be in polite society today.
(2) The resurrection of Christ is God the Father’s vindication of His Son, and thus it proves that God the Father has accepted Christ’s atonement for our sins!
This is good news for those of us who know ourselves to be sinners who desperately need His redeeming, forgiving grace! On the cross Jesus said “It is finished!” The penalty for sin has been “paid in full”! The resurrection of Christ proves that God the Father has accepted Christ’s payment for the sins of those who are united to Christ. If you are trusting in Christ for salvation, then the resurrection is proof that your sins are forgiven. The debt has been paid! You are freed from guilt and condemnation! Christ’s risen life now dwells in you! Believe the good news, and it will fill your life with meaning, purpose, joy, hope, and eternal comfort!
(3) The resurrection of Christ gives us believers hope in the face of suffering, aging, and death, for it guarantees our ultimate vindication and our own resurrection from the dead.
If Christ is not risen from the dead and God does not exist, then life has no ultimate, objective meaning; which means our sufferings in this life are also without any real meaning or higher purpose. We are all cosmic accidents, unloved by the impersonal cosmos within which we randomly evolved for no purpose whatsoever, mere blips on the radar screen of a yawning eternity of utter meaninglessness, a flash in the pan, our lives “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We are born. We grow up. We live. We experience some momentary pleasures, but for most life is just hard and suffused with suffering. Then we die. And that’s it. Period. “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, ESV)
But God does exist, and Christ is risen; therefore we believers have solid hope, even in the face of suffering, disease, persecution, poverty, war, aging, and even death. Christ’s resurrection guarantees that those who suffer for the sake of righteousness will be vindicated in the end. It also guarantees our own resurrection in the likeness of Christ. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (First John 3:2, ESV) Christ’s resurrection gives us real hope in the face of life’s challenges.
Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!