The Hope of the Resurrection

Luke 24:5b-7 in white text against a misty forest background.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

The angels declared, “He has risen!”

The explanation for the surprising vacancy at Jesus’ grave site is found in these three words (see Luke 24:6). The women who had come to tend to Jesus’ body two days after it was laid in a cave were distraught to find the tomb empty. Angelic messengers assured the women that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. No one had stolen Jesus’ corpse; in fact, there was no corpse.

Jesus was alive.

Easter Sunday is announced with the words “He has risen!” The darkness of Good Friday is lifted. Sadness and grief are abated. The power of death is broken.

“He has risen!”

Christianity rests upon these three words. According to Scripture, two enemies stood between God and his creation: sin and death. Jesus defeated sin by living a blameless life before God and offering himself as a sacrifice to pay for sin.

He defeated death by giving up his life on the cross, going into the grave as a corpse, and emerging two days later as a living, breathing Savior—a bridge between God and humanity.

The apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ resurrection in stark terms:

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:1417–19)

The good news—the best news of all, in fact—is that the events of Easter render such dire possibilities moot. Jesus has been raised from the dead. And as another New Testament writer observed, Jesus’ resurrection makes possible the resurrection of everyone who follows him:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3–4)

This blog post has been adapted from Walking with Jesus, a special-edition magazine that is now available on store shelves. 

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