Personal knowledge of Jesus is EVERYTHING we need for real life. Within His five works, we have the answers to every life problem, every temptation, and every blessing. Incarnate Jesus shows us that our Savior really understands the struggles of life on this earth and models how to resist temptation. Crucified Jesus paid the ultimate price to remove the sin-barrier between us and our Creator. Ascended Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and empower us. Jesus, who is seated at God’s right hand, is the Name above all names, the Power above all powers.
But what about the risen Jesus? How does this part of Jesus’ work affect us?
Strangely, I struggled with this one. But then, I realized that I was looking too closely. I was examining a leaf when I should have been looking at the whole mountain vista. When I backed up, the whole picture became clear.
The resurrection of Jesus gives power to EVERYTHING!
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. –1 Corinthians 15:17-19
If the resurrection validates everything about our faith, then it’s no wonder that both Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ AND J. Warner Wallace’s Cold Case Christianity deal primarily with this pivotal fact. Both men were avowed atheists who set out to disprove the resurrection, one through investigative reporting and the other through cold case detective work. Both came to the conclusion that the historical fact of the resurrection could not be disputed with any credibility. (If you are unsure, I urge you to delve deeper into this subject!)
Without the resurrection, the Incarnation of Jesus means nothing.
So what if Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in human form? He may have successfully navigated life’s struggles without sin, but without the resurrection, it was all meaningless and powerless. The power of the Incarnate Jesus hinges upon the fact that He is still alive, having conquered the biggest challenge of life on earth: death itself.
Without the resurrection, the Crucifixion of Jesus means nothing.
If Jesus had stayed dead, His sacrifice for our sins would have meant nothing more than the sacrifice of the Old Testament lambs. The payment for our sins would be incomplete, and we would still be hopelessly bound by the chains of our sins. Even if the crucifixion allowed us to become dead to our sins, there would be no life to replace the deadness.
Without the resurrection, the Ascension of Jesus never would have happened.
Dead bodies do not have conversations with Mary in the garden or walk along the road with disciples. Neither can a dead body commission His followers to go into all nations to teach the good news to all people. There would be no good news…just another story about death.
If Jesus never came back to life, He could not have ascended into heaven with the promise of His Holy Spirit coming to live inside His followers. There would have been no Pentecost where that Spirit filled the believers, bringing thousands more to salvation. We would have no Spirit to teach us or to empower us.
Without the resurrection, Jesus would not be seated at the Father’s right hand.
If Jesus were still lying in that borrowed tomb, we would not have a powerful Savior who advocates for us. There would be no Name to cling to against the powers of darkness. There would be no Sword of the Spirit to wield against the enemy…because it all would have been defeated at the Cross of Calvary. Even worse, there would be no justice at the end of the age. Satan’s forces would have complete victory over mankind.
So this Christmas, reflect on the resurrection of Jesus. Research it. Investigate your questions about its validity. After all, if God did not raise Jesus from the dead, Christmas is just a poignant story and the babe in the manger has no power.
Jesus, I am so grateful that you did come back to life. Your resurrection makes life livable. It gives me hope that I will one day be completely free from my sin nature. Your life means that I can have life.