at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Reflections on Easter: The Resurrection and the Life

What is Easter all about?  It is about the central message of Christianity: the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Actually, Paul breaks up the gospel message into four parts in his first letter to the Corinthians:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…
--  (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)

To borrow the breakdown of this from my pastor, these are the four parts of the gospel message that Paul outlines here:

1. Christ died
2. Christ was buried
3. Christ was raised
4. Christ appeared

I think sometimes we tend to focus mostly on the death part and not enough on the resurrection.  Easter is a great time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s grace and forgiveness, and also on the implications of Jesus’ resurrection.  Jesus died for our sins, but he was raised that we, too, might be raised and have eternal life.  For, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Mark 12:27).  Our hope of everlasting life with our God comes from Jesus’ own resurrection. 

Jesus said:

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
-- John 11:25-26

Some people have a hard time believing in the concept of a “resurrection” and it becomes a barrier to faith in God and Jesus.  It is a concept outside of our realm of experience, and thus difficult to fathom.  The idea of a resurrection is no stranger to the people of today than it was to the people in the days of Jesus, and many in that day also had a hard time believing, even though they were around for Jesus’ own resurrection.  

However, Paul emphasizes the importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith as he continues his letter to the Corinthians:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
-- 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

I think that last line is so powerful.  The Christian faith is not based on loosely held ideas or warm, fuzzy feelings.  It is based on evidence of God’s faithfulness throughout the ages, as recorded in the Bible, and also in our own lives; it is based on prophecies that have been fulfilled; it is based on the life of Jesus, on his death, and his resurrection; and it is based on the testimony of many.  Paul’s fourth point in his gospel summary is that “Christ appeared.”  It wasn’t as if Jesus’ body simply vanished from the tomb and nobody ever saw him again.  He appeared to hundreds of people over multiple occasions, which provides strong evidence that the resurrection did happen.

Peter proclaims in his second letter:

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
-- 2 Peter 1:16

The apostles wholeheartedly believed in the resurrection of the dead and that Jesus was the Messiah.  They were there and saw Jesus alive after he had been crucified.  They believed in the gospel so strongly that they were willing to die for their beliefs (and most of them did).  If you truly believe in the gospel message, it will change your whole life.  But if it’s not true, and we have no hope of eternal life, yet we follow it anyways, Paul says that we are to be “pitied more than all men.”  So, consider that a challenge to take your faith seriously, and know where your hope comes from (1 Peter 3:15).

This Easter I will remember that my hope comes from Jesus.  I will remember that He died for me, for the forgiveness of my sins. He was buried in a tomb.  He rose from the dead, and afterward appeared to many people, showing himself to be God and Messiah.  He lives and reigns so that I, too, may live.  And I look forward to new life and the day that God says:

Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
-- Revelation 21:3-4

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
-- 1 Corinthians 15:58

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!