Consequences of the Resurrection
We’ve recently celebrated Easter – the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus rose from the dead to a new kind of life – so what does that mean for the world and for each of us as individuals?
Firstly, the resurrection verifies that Jesus really was, and is, God come among us.
St. John writes that the Jews tried hard to kill him because “…. not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18)
Jesus had often said he would die and then after three days rise again; for example Matthew tells us how Jesus explained to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things ……that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life (Matt. 16:21).
Jesus’ resurrection confirms the truth of all he says about the Kingdom of God and its future final victory.
Secondly the resurrection of Jesus transforms peoples’ lives.
St. Peter writes “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Just as the risen Christ appeared to many of the disciples and other people during the 40 days before his ascension, so we too can meet the risen living Jesus and receive forgiveness of sin and new birth into the family and kingdom of God.
The resurrection spawned the largest most sustainable movement in history (the church) as hundreds of millions of people experience this new birth into a living hope as they meet the risen Jesus.
Thirdly, it is the prototype for our future resurrection.
Jesus’ resurrection is described by St Paul as the first of many resurrections. He writes “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep……..for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive; but each in his own turn: Christ the firstruits then when he comes those who belong to him. We too will rise again and receive new bodies like Jesus’ resurrection body – suited to the new environment of the age to come when Jesus returns to earth, and heaven and earth are reunited. Further detail about these matters is given in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
Finally, Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
We often ask: “Why does God allow evil? Why does he allow suffering?" And we don’t know the complete answer…...
But what we do know is that God himself participated in our sufferings by living among us and dying for us. The Cross is the ultimate in an innocent person suffering. If evil could to that to a very good person (Jesus) where is God?
The answer is that God raised him from the dead, and his resurrection means that Jesus has indeed defeated sin and death and launched the kingdom of God on earth.
Meanwhile we are warned there will be suffering, as the kingdoms of this world battle against the kingdom of God. This battle affects the whole of creation which, in the words of St. Paul, is currently suffering and longing to be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the future glorious freedom of the children of God.
Paul uses the image of birth pangs to speak of the pain and anticipation being experienced by the whole creation – human and non-human – heralding the dramatic birth of new creation from the womb of the old. (Romans 8: 19-23)
We are encouraged by scriptures such as Romans 8:18 “I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed in us” and 1 Peter 1: 6-8 “in this (new birth into the living hope) you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, more precious than gold which perishes - even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”
“Then the end will come when Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death”. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
Written by our Vicar's warden and Christ Church member, Robin Shell