The Meaning of the Resurrection: What if Jesus Christ Never Rose from the Dead?
A few years ago a Facebook friend posted this question on her wall: “What is our Easter message for people who are waiting for resurrection? What about the people who experience suffering, injustice, violence day after day after day? What about people for whom the suffering of Good Friday and the darkness of the tomb are much more real than the rejoicing that God has overcome sin and death?”
Does the cross of Christ and His resurrection have anything to do with human existence and experience? Does it have anything to do with pain and suffering? What does it have to do with our struggles?
I would like to make three proposals about the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Firstly, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.
The Bible says in Romans 4:25 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
In his death Jesus identified with us. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21.He suffered and died on our behalf, yet this was not enough. It is the empty cross and the empty tomb that makes us to sing “Halleluiah, what a savior!” It was not enough to identify with us; he had to overcome the power of sin through the resurrection. He was raised to life for our justification. We do not have to live in guilt of our past sins any longer; our sins have been forgiven. Our faith is in the living Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:14 Apostle Paul says that “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
Secondly, because of the death of Christ we have victory over sin. Ephesians 2:4-6 says, But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. We reign with Him. We share in his authority over powers and authorities. In Christ we have victory over sin.
Thirdly, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have hope for eternal life. Because of this hope we have a different perspective to suffering and pain. We know that one day we will totally overcome the pain, the suffering, the injustices, and all evil around us. In this world we may temporarily be free from pain, we may partially see some forms of justice – and as Christians we should be advocates of fairness and justice. But in the life to come sin will be no more. We, who are in Christ, will live with Him in glory. Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:18 that I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
So how do we answer my friend’s question? What is our Easter message for people who are waiting for resurrection? What about the people who experience suffering, injustice, violence day after day after day? What about people for whom the suffering of Good Friday and the darkness of the tomb are much more real than the rejoicing that God has overcome sin and death?
I think the answer is that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a new perspective on suffering and pain. Because Jesus went through the most excruciating pain, including being forsaken by His Father, we know that he understands our pain as well. Because he rose again from the dead, we know that pain, suffering, injustice, violence is not the end of our story; we will finally overcome it. Our message to those who are in such situations is to love them as Christ does and stand out for their causes as much as it in our power to do so. But more importantly, is to reassure them of the victory and glory that lies beyond our present suffering.