Let’s discuss the importance of the resurrection. In an article this month there was a man who offered some reasons why he rejected the resurrection of Christ. That’s nothing new; soldiers were bribed at that time to lie about the resurrection, and there have been many people trying to discredit the resurrection ever since. Some just don’t understand how critical the resurrection is to our Christian faith.
All of Christianity is built on the resurrection. If there is no resurrection, there is no Christianity. If there is no resurrection, the Bible is full of lies. If there is no resurrection, there is no salvation, no forgiveness, no hope, and no heaven. And I want to see if I can show you at least in some small measure how broad, how wide, how high, and how deep the impact of the resurrection extends.
Let me start by talking about God the Father. The Bible tells us about God, about His nature, about His character; and one of the things that the Bible reiterates about God is that He is the truth, speaks the truth and nothing but the truth. In Psalm 119:89 it says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 33:11 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands sure forever.”
Psalm 86:15 says, “God is full of truth.” And 1 Kings 8:56 says that, “There has not failed one word of all His good promises.” Deuteronomy 32:4 sums it up by saying, “He is a God of truth, without iniquity.” Titus 1:2 says, “God cannot lie.” He is absolutely holy. The devil is the father of lies. And the truthfulness of God, and the character of God is at stake in the resurrection.
In Acts 2 the apostle Peter stands up to preach in the city of Jerusalem to a huge crowd of Jews that are gathered there on the day of Pentecost. And Peter preaches concerning Jesus. Listen to his words starting in Acts 2:22, “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”
“This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Scripture says God raised Jesus up from the dead. It repeats it over in verse 32: “This Jesus God raised up again.”
The conclusion of that is in verse 36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Three times it says in this section that God raised Jesus up, that God loosed Him from the grip of death, that it was impossible for death to hold Him. Since God is the author of Scripture, He knew beforehand exactly what would happen.
Well, the Scripture used here by Peter does not speak of the power of God. It does not say God raised Him because He was wise enough. It doesn’t say that He raised Him up because He was full of compassion and mercy and wanted to extend grace to us. It says that God raised Him up because He said He would. And we see that immediately in verse 25 in a quote from the Old Testament.
In Psalm 16:8-11 David says, “‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope; because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’”
This clearly is a promise of resurrection, that the Messiah, the Holy One, will not have his soul abandoned in the grave, nor will he be allowed to undergo decay. Peter says Christ was raised by God because God said He would do it; and He did it. God’s Word is at stake in the resurrection. “And let every man be a liar,” says Scripture. The resurrection then impacts the very confidence we have in God.
The resurrection also has implications toward God the Son. There was only one fast commanded in Jewish history: that’s on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). But the Pharisees developed a pattern of fasting twice every week. They fasted every Monday and Thursday, to demonstrate their devotion to God. They made sure that everybody saw them fasting so as to think of them as truly devout.
Some disciples of John the Baptist, along with some Pharisees, were fasting in Mark 2. The disciples of Jesus did not. So they questioned Jesus in verse 18, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not?” Jesus, in verse 19, replies to them with a parable, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them.
20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Jesus describes a wedding. Nobody fasts at a wedding; you feast at a wedding. For Christ and the disciples the wedding represented the day of salvation. Christ is the bridegroom; believers are the bride; the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven as a bridal city.
If Christ does not rise, not only is God a liar, but Jesus Christ is a liar; God cannot be believed, and neither can Christ. And He is not the way, the truth, or the life. But He did rise from the dead, as the gospel record indicates. His prophecy was true, validating His deity. Colossians 1:15 says, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,”
He is God, the image of the invisible God, but He also was born as a man; and is a man, But He is more than just human, verse 16 says, “By Him all things were created.” He is the Creator, therefore He was before everything that was created. “He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see, such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Verse 18, “He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.” The place of Christ as the God-man, the primacy of Christ, the preeminence of Christ is connected to His resurrection. He is the firstborn from the dead of all that have ever been raised or will be raised. He has first place in everything. It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him.
Resurrection affects the gospel. In Romans 1:2, Paul sets apart the features of the gospel. He says, “The gospel was promised beforehand, in the Old Testament, “through God’s prophets in the holy Scriptures.” What was promised was concerning His Son, who humanly was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, and declared also to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead.”
Everything concerning the Father, everything concerning the Son is connected to the resurrection. He is the image of the invisible God, the “precise copy,” the “exact replica” of God, the “perfect revelation” of God. Of all who have ever been created He ranks first, not in time, but in position: Creator, preexisting Creator, source of life. He upholds the creation, He dominates the spiritual world of angelic beings.
He’s the head of the church; all of this validated by His resurrection from the dead. He becomes, by the resurrection, the preeminent One. And Revelation 1:18 says through His resurrection He holds the keys to death and hell. In John 2, Jesus said to the Jewish people, “Destroy this body, and in three days I’ll raise it up.” He was not speaking of the temple, He was speaking of the temple of His own body.
In John 10:17-18, He said this, “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” He had the power over His own body. He yielded up His life; and He took it back.
This has critical implications to 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” If Christ is not raised, then God did not accept His sacrifice for sin, and if there is no sacrifice for sin, and you are still in your sins, headed for hell and punishment. If Christ has not been raised, verse 18, “Then those also who have died in Christ have perished.”
The character of the Father, the character of the Son, is at stake in the resurrection; also, the Holy Spirit. Romans 1:4 says, “The Son of God was declared to be so with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Holy Spirit.” It was the Holy Spirit, who had promised that Christ would rise in the scriptures of the Old Testament; and promised it in the scriptures of the New Testament.
In John 16:7, Jesus says to the disciples in the upper room at the last Passover, “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send Him to you.” Verse 13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future.”
But it is also the Holy Spirit who not only reveals Christ in Scripture, but reveals Christ to the mind and the heart in the ministry and the miracle of regeneration. If you have no resurrection, then Christ doesn’t go back to heaven. If He doesn’t go back to heaven, He doesn’t send the Holy Spirit. If there’s no Holy Spirit, there’s no conviction of sin, there’s no regeneration of the spiritually dead, there’s no Christianity.
You have no church without the Holy Spirit; you have no Holy Spirit without the resurrection. So you see that to pull the resurrection out of Christianity, all of it collapses. If God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit lied to us, and there is no resurrection, and there is no salvation, and there is no hope, we’re a pitiful bunch of deluded religionists. But, Christ is risen from the dead.
The resurrection also had an impact on angels. Hebrews is designed to show the preeminence of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, in every sense, in every way. But notice that, in the first chapter, He has the angels in view. He introduces the Son of God as the heir of all things, as well as the Creator of all things. And then He says about the Son of God, that, “He is the radiance of God’s glory.”
He provided the sacrifice for sin that God accepted. God raised Him from the dead, and He ascended to glory and took His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And at that point, “having become much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” To which of the angels did God ever say, “You’re My Son; today I’ve begotten You”? None.
To which of the angels did God say, “I will be a father, and you shall be a son to Me”? None. And when He brings the firstborn into the world at the resurrection, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” But to the Son, He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore Your God, has anointed You above Your companions.” (Angels).
He also has a relationship to fallen angels. The demons who chased Jesus around and tried to discredit Him were subject to Him. The Jewish leaders said, He has control of the world of demons. Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, triumphing over them.” 1 Peter 3:18 says, “When He died on the cross, He was dead in the flesh, but alive in the Spirit.”
And where was He when His Spirit was alive? He went to the demons. He went, it says, and made proclamation to the demon spirits, held in the prison of hell, and He declared to them His authority and His sovereignty over them. It says in verse 22, “Angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” The demons are subjected to Him and bow to the fierce force of His eternal punishment.
And lastly the impact of the resurrection on people. John 5:21 says, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.” Verse 24 says, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
This is demonstrated immediately in verse 25, “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.” He has the power to raise all the dead. All people who have ever lived since Adam to the end of human history will be raised from the dead: all believers, all unbelievers. All will be raised.
All will receive a body suited for their eternal dwelling. Most will receive a body fit to receive everlasting punishment. Believers will receive a body like Christ’s glorified body, Philippians 3:20, suited to the joys of heaven. But everyone will be raised. Revelation 21, says all the dead from all over the planet throughout all of human history will come out of the ground, out of the sea, wherever they are.
Therein lies the good message of the gospel. Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Saved from hell. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, deny yourself, believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, the gospel is true. Christ did die for us as the perfect sacrifice; and He did rise.