At this time of year, we celebrate the very heart of our Christian faith—the resurrection of Jesus. It is the central theme of the gospel, the key component which proves the validity of everything Jesus taught. The resurrection tells us that Jesus is the Son of God; that as believers we have salvation and forgiveness, we are God’s children, and we’ll be with Him for eternity in heaven.
The apostle Paul said that if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, then the message of Christianity would be without foundation, and the faith of those who believe would be worthless.
1 But as the angel told the women who came to Jesus’ tomb, He has risen from the dead, just as He said He would. This fact validates our belief system and our faith. Jesus is alive! He lives! And because He does, so do we.
A sense of renewed awe and wonder
Jesus rose from the grave, conquering death, and in doing so, freed us from being bound only to this life. Though we presently live in a broken world, we have the promise of a perfect world to come. While we experience heartbreak and disappointment today, our tears and fears will be forever wiped away in our life after this one. While we sometimes
2 struggle with confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty, when we join Him and are in His presence in heaven, we will experience joy unspeakable.
This is possible because God, who so deeply loves us and wants us to be in relationship with Him, made a plan by which we could become His children. This plan required God entering this world through a miraculous birth, and after living among us, giving His life for us on the cross—and then rising from the dead. Through the completion of His plan, we can enter into the relationship with Him that we were created for—both now and forever.
It is awesome that God has made it possible for us to have His presence in our lives now and to dwell in His presence eternally. The appropriate response on our part is one of eternal gratitude, praise, worship, and adoration, for we have been given the greatest gift possible.
Increased faith for life
If we think about, meditate on, and appreciate what Jesus’
resurrection meant, what it achieved, and how it has changed our lives forever, we can gain increased faith for every area of our lives. Jesus not only rose from the dead, but He’s in the business of helping us rise above the dead ends, deadwood, and deadweights in our lives.
Sometimes we resign ourselves to situations and circumstances because we feel there’s no hope for change, that things are what they are and that we simply have to endure them. However, God is in the business of changing things, of breathing new life into hearts, relationships, or situations that seem or may be “dead.” Perhaps you’re in a situation that seems out of your control or as if all hope is gone, but no situation is beyond Jesus’ control; His power is unlimited. When Jesus was on earth, He regularly did the impossible. He multiplied the loaves and fishes, walked on water, healed the paralyzed, and gave sight to the blind. Dead people were even raised to life.
Renewed commitment to spread the Good News
Jesus coming to earth, dying on the cross for us, and His subsequent resurrection forever changed the course of history. These actions allowed each of us the opportunity to accept Jesus and become part of God’s family.
When Jesus told His disciples to “preach the good news to everyone in the world,” He showed that He
3 wants each man, woman, and child to have the opportunity to become a part of His family, to be saved from their sins, and to experience His forgiveness and reconciliation. Each person who has already received His marvelous gift, who knows what it is to live within God’s family, to be forgiven for our sins, to have God’s Spirit within us, will naturally want to share this with others.
We who believe in the resurrection, have been saved because of the resurrection, and will experience resurrection, should remind ourselves as we celebrate the resurrection of God the Son that we are proclaimers of the risen Christ to those who have not yet heard that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.
—Athanasius of Alexandria (296–373)
Peter Amsterdam and his wife, Maria Fontaine, are directors of the Family International, a Christian community of faith.