The Priority of the Resurrection

The Resurrection is the single most important event in the totality of human history. Some might argue in Christendom that the birth or crucifixion is of equal importance. Both are eternally significant, but the Resurrection is essential. Without the resurrection of Jesus the other two events are really non-events.

Now that might not sit very well with you. If so, hang with me for a few moments and perhaps you will change your mind. Jesus came to seek and to save, and by doing this He would destroy the works of the devil. He came with a purpose, planned in eternity past, fulfilled in the Resurrection.

The conception and birth of Jesus through the womb of a young virgin named Mary was the doorway of the Incarnation. Through this miracle God became flesh and dwelled with the rest of humanity. God the Son became human without losing His divinity. He was fully God and fully man. But this one event did not complete His redemptive plan or purpose.

Jesus also lived a sinless life. That is, He never once disobeyed the Father, fully accomplishing every commandment and assignment He was given. Sin’s filthy grip never soiled His spotless life.  This enabled Him to fulfill His role as the Second Adam and qualified Him to be the Spotless Lamb, our sacrifice for sin. This was essential, but without the Resurrection, it is meaningless.

For most Christians the cross is the single most powerful image of their faith. On it the sinless Son of God was offered as the payment for the sins of the whole world. The Incarnate One was nailed to a cross—His sinless life qualified Him to be the Passover Lamb. On the cross, Jesus shouted, “Tetelestai!” This first century Greek word means that from that moment forward the sin debt had been paid in full and its benefits will continue forever. The declaration had been made, but the One who declared it succumbed to death as His blood became the offering for sin. His lifeless body was then taken and placed in a tomb. The cross was the provision for sin’s atonement, but would that payment be enough?

The body of Jesus now rested on a limestone shelf in a borrowed garden tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. In the Jewish way of reckoning time Jesus was in that tomb a part of Friday, all day Saturday, and into Sunday—a three-day period that had been foretold earlier by Jesus Himself.

The testimony of Scripture is clear that on the morning of the third day God the Father raised God the Son from the dead through the power of God the Holy Spirit. That one act declared forever that God’s sacrifice of His Beloved Son had been enough. The Resurrection is the foundational doctrine of all Christianity. Apart from it nothing else is its equal. It is the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan and the life-giving fountain from which all must drink. For the believer every day is Resurrection Day. Without the Resurrection our preaching is all in vain, our faith is worthless, and we are still condemned shackled by sin—eternally helpless and without hope.

But…Jesus is risen! Yes, He is risen indeed!