The resurrection of Jesus Christ separates Christianity from all other religions. Christianity without the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is merely one religion among many. “And if Christ is not risen,” said the Apostle Paul, “then our preaching is empty and your faith is in vain”. (1 Corinthians 15:14) Furthermore, “You are still in your sins! ” Paul could not have chosen stronger language. (Mohler) Still, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been under persistent attacks since the Apostolic age. Why?
Because it is the central confirmation of Jesus’ identity as the incarnate Son of God, and the ultimate sign of Christ’s completed work of atonement, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. Those who oppose Christ recognize the Resurrection as the vindication of Christ against His enemies. Christ’s resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. Without it, Christianity crumbles. It is precisely because the physical resurrection of Christ is at the very heart of Christianity that it is constantly under attack. Our culture frequently denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ due to a bias against miracles.
It is common for aberrant Christianity and cultism to deny the physical resurrection of Christ as well. For these reasons, we must be equipped to defend this essential of essentials. To do so, let’s look back at the biblical and historical records of Christ’s resurrection. (Hanegraaff) First, the physical resurrection of Christ is affirmed in the Scripture. When the Jewish leaders asked for a miraculous sign, Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). Scripture confirms that the temple he was speaking of was the temple of his own body.
John states: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). Furthermore, the confessions of Christianity are replete with references to the physical resurrection of the Redeemer. Cyril of Jerusalem proclaimed, “Let no heretic ever persuade thee to speak evil of the Resurrection. For to this day the Manichees say that the resurrection of the Savior was phantom-wise, and not real. (Hanegraaff) Like the church fathers, the medieval church and the Reformation produced compelling confessions concerning the bodily resurrection. Thomas Aquinas condemns those who “have not believed in the resurrection of the body, and have strained to twist the words of holy Scripture to mean a spiritual resurrection. ” the Westminster Confession assert: “On the third day he rose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sittith at the right hand of the Father. (Hanegraaff) Finally, the characteristics of Christ’s body bear eloquent truth to his physical resurrection. Jesus invited the disciples to examine His resurrected His resurrected body so that they would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was the exact same one that had been fatally tormented. He also ate food as proof of the nature of His resurrected body. Jesus provided the final exclamation mark for His physical resurrection by telling the disciples that His resurrected body was comprised of “flesh and bones. ” “Touch me and see;” He says, “a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
Those who would attack the Church and reject its gospel must direct their arrows at the most crucial truth claim of the New Testament and the disciples: That Jesus Christ, having suffered death on a cross, though sinless, having borne the sins of those He came to save, having been buried in a sealed and guarded grave, was raised by the power of God on the third day. The two factors about the resurrection which are very significant for the Christian faith are as follows; •It became the fruits for the believer’s own experience.
As Christ rose from the grave so shall the believer be. This shows the triumph of faith over the grave. •It is by the resurrection that the divine approval is shown for the work of Christ on the cross. The resurrection is the coping stone of the whole ministry of Jesus. In conclusion and simply stated, Christianity stands or falls with the empty grave. If Christ is not raised, our faith is in vain. Paul asserted that Christ rose from the dead and our faith is not in vain, but is in the risen Lord. Jesus willingly faced death on a cross and defeated death from the grave.
The Resurrection is the ultimate sign of God’s vindication of His Son. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the promise of our resurrection from the dead, and of Christ’s total victory over sin and death. Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the very center of the Christian gospel. Bibliography Hanegraaff, Hank. “Jesus Christ’s Resurrection: The Exclamation Point. ” 03 March 2008. Crosswalk. com. 08 October 2011 . Mohler, Albert. Christianity. com. Unknown. 07 October 2011 . The NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.
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