Jesus’ death and resurrection can feel like an abstract spiritual reality that isn’t relevant to our human experience. How can one man’s death bring me life? Even if the resurrection actually happened, what difference does it make on my life and this world?
As we lay the resurrection of Jesus before us in scripture, may we see that it really matters to each of us and this world that we live in.
Christianity did not spread in a gullible world that thought resurrections were normal (Acts 17:30-32). So how then was this truth accepted?
IT WILL MATTER TO YOU
Paul says that God calls all people everywhere to repent because we have all sinned against Him (Acts 17). This repentance is urgent because God, in His perfect righteousness, is going to judge the whole world. He is going to judge it by a man, Jesus Christ. Jesus will be the judge of every human someday. We are all guilty unless we are found in Christ - having trusted Jesus as our Savior. The resurrection is God’s assurance (warrant, evidence, proof) that repentance is necessary.
Whether you find it helpful or not, God’s judgment is coming. This judgment isn’t like the possibility of life in another galaxy. Rather it is like death - it is coming! It does concern you. It will matter to you.
GOD DESIGNED FOR US TO KNOW THROUGH WITNESSES
God always intended for the resurrection to be known and believed through human witnesses. The Spirit opens our eyes but it is always through witnesses. There is no video footage or photographs. When it happened, God saw to it that there were witnesses. Jesus appeared to witnesses (hundreds) in enough settings that they were fully convinced of the reality of the resurrection that they could tell others and write it down for us.
When we believe - trust, follow, receive - we can experience the realities of the risen Christ.
John’s resurrection account is unique compared to the other gospels. John leads the reader from the empty tomb to the real meaning of the resurrection - the creation of a new relationship between Jesus and those who believe in Him. Their relationship will now be through the Holy Spirit. John shows the longing Mary had to be with the Lord. Mary turns to Jesus and clings to Him. Her beloved teacher has come back from the dead and her grief is banished. This fulfills what Jesus said in John 14:18.
Jesus will now make them sons and daughters of God - by the giving of the Spirit.
His followers will now live in a relationship of love and obedience to Jesus which nothing can destroy.
“My Father” is now “your Father” (verse 17).
As He promised to even two or three gathered in His name - He is in their midst (verse 20)
Peace (shalom) is His gift to them (verse 21; Col 1:19-20).
He sends them as peace bearers into the public life of the world (verse 21). They will participate in His mission.
He breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit (verse 22) - new life entered them like life entered into Adam after being formed - “the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7).