The Resurrection Changes Everything
Posted by Rick Manafo on April 17, 2017
Topic: inContext Magazine
Had the disciples’ last image of Jesus been of Jesus being flogged or hanging on a cross or being carried to and locked in a tomb, what would it eventually have done to their psyche? They looked on as the most powerful religious and political machine killed Jesus. But what the resurrection showed them was that no religious or political machine could stop what Jesus came to accomplish. For them the cross was no longer just a tragedy, but God’s way to victory.
No other worldview or religion is founded upon a living founder. Buddhists do not and cannot clam that Buddha rose from the dead. The same applies for Muslims. Tradition says Muhammad died June 8 in AD632, and guess what? He’s still dead. Christians have no tomb to venerate or such pilgrimage to make. Christians believe their founder is alive and well and still in charge of everything. Jesus is the only one who is still able to care for his followers.
The resurrection of Christ is the foundation and culmination of the good news. It gives meaning and substance to our faith. It makes forgiveness for sin possible. It removes the sting of death and robs the grave of final victory. Death is our greatest enemy. We can bounce back from almost anything, but not death. The resurrection of Jesus offers hope in that crucial moment of death.
When people say that the physical resurrection of Jesus unimportant or improbable they’re not making the gospel more palatable. They’re not making Christianity more accessible. They’re making it useless. If you want to write off Christianity, disprove or downplay the resurrection—job done!
Jesus said he was the way, the truth and the life. If there is no resurrection, then the truth was really a lie, life still leads to death and the way is just a long dead-end street.
Those who don’t believe will try to alter the story to suit their agenda. Those who do believe allow that history—and future—altering event to change their lives.
We may live in world that says, “I won’t believe it unless I can touch it.” Jesus still responds today, “Go ahead. My body is alive and well—touch away …”
People are watching to see if Jesus is alive today—if the resurrection is true. Those who have been transformed by the power of the resurrection should be evidence to the fact that Jesus gives life to the fullest now and hope for the future? Life can only be full when you believe the tomb is empty.
Nikolai Ivanovich Buhkarin was a Russian Communist leader who took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. He was also editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which means truth) and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today. In 1930, he took a trip from Moscow to Kiev to address a crowd on the subject of atheism. He pulled out all the stops in a verbal assault against Christianity trying to disprove it on several levels. He spoke for an hour and when he was done it looked like he had really reeled the audience in—like he had shattered any shred of faith in the room. Then he asked, “Are there any questions?” The auditorium went silent.
But one man got up from his seat and approached and stood behind the lectern. He paused and looked the audience over. After the pause, he shouted out the well-known Russian Orthodox Church greeting: “Christ is Risen.” And without any prompting, in unison, the crowd stood up and responded loudly, “He is Risen Indeed.”
Jesus’ disciples may have been able to start a religion based on the notion of Jesus being alive “in Spirit.” They could have propagated hope of a world to come in which even Jesus would be raised and God would finally have God’s way. But the resurrection proves that God has already had his way.
The evidence around the resurrection of Jesus, points to a reasonable faith. Only Jesus Christ leads us to a proper understanding of God, our world, our existence, our purpose our destiny. Without the historical, miraculous incarnation of God through Christ the whole thing unravels.
That’s why some atheists try to trivialize or underestimate the person and claims of Jesus. That’s why people of other faiths try to categorize Jesus with other religious leaders, because they know that if Jesus can be perceived as simply an option, he becomes inconsequential. But if Jesus is who the gospels say he is … it changes everything.