Easter Sunday


Jerry A Collins



v        What is the resurrection we celebrate?

v        How does the resurrection make a difference?

v        What benefits does the resurrection give us?

An incident occurred in the early 1920s when Communist leader Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address an anti-God rally. For an hour he abused and ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if the whole structure of belief was in ruins. Then questions were invited. An Orthodox church priest rose and asked to speak. He turned, faced the people, and gave the Easter greeting, “He is risen!” Instantly the assembly rose to its feet and the reply came back loud and clear, “He is risen indeed!” Well over three hundred verses are concerned with the subject of Jesus’ resurrection in the New Testament. We are told that this event is a sign for unbelievers (Matt. 12:38-40); cf. John 20:24-29) as well as the answer for the believer’s doubt (Luke 24:38-43). It serves as the guarantee that Jesus’ teachings are true (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Cor. 15:12-20) and is the center of the gospel itself (Rom. 4:24-25, 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Further, the resurrection is the impetus for evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 10:39-43), the key indication of the believer’s daily power to live the Christian life (Rom. 6:4-14, 8:9-11; Phil. 3:10) and the reason for the total commitment of our lives (Rom. 7:4; 1 Cor. 15:57-58). The resurrection even addresses the fear of death (John 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:54-58; cf. Heb. 2:14-15) and is related to the second coming of Jesus (Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7). Lastly, this event is a model of the Christian’s resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:2; 1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thess. 4:13-18) and provides a foretaste of heaven for the believer (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Peter 1:3-5). It’s significant because:

1. RESURRECTION VALIDATES JESUS WAS THE SON OF GOD   Christ’s resurrection proves He was from God and spoke the truth--He is the way, the truth and the life. The resurrection proves Jesus was unique, one of a kind, and it marks Him out and authenticates Him as God’s Son. Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. In Romans 1:4 Paul shows that the resurrection is the final and convincing proof that Jesus was the Son of God. Please note here that Paul’s subject is the gospel, the good news, of God. The Resurrection proves this.

2. It is the basis of our sanctification & victory over sin   Because He is risen, we can walk in newness of life. His resurrection proved He has conquered sin and Satan and released us from the domination of sin. Romans 6:4 Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. A parallel passage to these verses (6:4b; 5b; and 8b) is Colossians 3:1, “If you then are risen with Christ . . . .”  By identifying with Christ in faith the believer not only died to sin but has been raised to a new life.  With regeneration a divine operation takes place that brings enormous changes.  With faith in Jesus Christ the believer receives the Holy Spirit, that is, a new life in Christ.  So the idea of being raised with Christ focuses on a divine provision that enables the believer to live on a higher plane, to walk in the newness of life.  Ultimately, death and sin can have no power.  Paul carries his symbolic wording then to the resurrection--Christ did not just die, he rose again and lives forever; and we who died in Christ by faith, now have risen to a new life, the spiritual life, which is eternal.  We cannot go back to the old ways if we have risen to a new life.

3. apart from Christ’s resurrection, we would have no hope  If Christ is not risen from the dead, the long course of God’s redemptive acts to save his people ends in a dead-end street, in a tomb. If the resurrection of Christ is not reality, then we have no assurance that God is the living God, for death has the last word. Faith is futile because the object of that faith has not vindicated himself as the Lord of life. Christian faith is then incarcerated in the tomb along with the final and highest self-revelation of God in Christ--if Christ is indeed dead. 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain,   your faith also is vain…..and if Christ has not been raised your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  If Christ was not raised from the dead,   then the gospel, outlined in verses 1-11, is false. The resurrection of our Lord was proclaimed by Paul and the apostles as one of the foundational truths of the gospel. Further, since the apostles preached Christ crucified, buried, and raised again from the dead, their ministry would be vain if Christ did not actually rise from the grave (verse 14). It would be vain in the sense that these men risked their lives and made monumental sacrifices for a message that was false and which had no saving power. Both the message of the apostles and their ministry would be rendered useless if the proclamation of our Lord’s resurrection were proven false. Not only would the apostles’ preaching topple if the resurrection of Christ had not occurred, but the faith of those who believed their message would also be undermined. If Christ was not raised from the dead, then His death on Calvary was meaningless, and the Corinthians are still condemned sinners. Take away the resurrection and you pull the rug out from under the atoning work of our Lord. It is not merely the death, but the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord which saves sinners. To deny the resurrection of our Lord is to condemn men as sinners, without hope of forgiveness and eternal life.

4. His resurrection is the basis for and assurance of our own resurrection   Peter first praises God for the cause and the motivation for our salvation. God Himself is the cause of our salvation. He “caused us to be born again” (verse 3). This He did out of “His great mercy.” It is not our worthiness nor our desirability, but His mercy which is the reason for our salvation. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have a future inheritance. This inheritance will be ours because Christ died. But it will be ours after we have died. Because our hope of future blessings rests in the finished work of our Lord, it is a certain hope. Peter gives a three-fold description of this hope: it is imperishable, it is undefiled, and it will not fade away. It is death-proof, sin-proof, and time-proof. 1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

1. Jesus Christ is only religious figure to be raised from the dead making Him Son of God and only source of life eternal.

2. You are absolutely powerless to overcome sin in your life without resurrection power Christ supplies in HS.

3. There is no hope for anyone when they die without salvation Christ’s supplies.

4. All who believe have assurance and promise of eternal life in Christ alone.