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AFFIRMATION OF THE RESURRECTION

By Henry Musana

The resurrection of Christ is not just an historical event for us to remember. It is the very essence of our Christian faith. You can not separate the resurrection from Christianity. The resurrection is what brings real meaning to our faith. Without the resurrection, our faith would be futile — worthless or without meaning.

1 Corinthians 15:17
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Without the resurrection, we would most miserable of all men.

1 Corinthians 15:19
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

But we know that Jesus died and rose again, and on such a day we celebrate his resurrection because it brings assurance to our faith.

I am a pastor in Uganda, a country with a considerable number of Muslims, and my early education was in a Muslim school. I have some knowledge of the Islamic religion, and I know they never talk of any of their prophets resurrecting. Other religions may┬ábelieve there will be a resurrection, but they don’t believe like we Christians do. We believe that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are resurrected from death to life. It is the resurrection that makes the Christian faith unique.

Here are three things that affirm the resurrection:

1) POWER

The resurrection affirms that God has power over death. The most feared thing in life is death. Everybody tries their best to stay alive. As somebody said, many Christians want to go to heaven but they do not want to die.

To a Christian, death should not be something to fear. Now I don’t mean that we should do reckless things because we don’t fear to die. I mean we should not fear when it is our time to die. "There is a time to be born and a time to die" (Ecclestiates 3:2).

When Jesus died and rose, he disarmed powers and principalities:

Colossians 2:15
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Then he declared the victory:

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul desired to know Christ and the power of his resurrection:

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

2) HOPE

Another thing that separates Christianity from other religions is what Titus 2:13 calls "our blessed hope." We have this hope knowing that though we sleep in Christ, we will wake up in his presence.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

We don’t mourn like those who have no hope. If we do, then we would be the most miserable of all men. Christ's resurrection affirms this hope in our Christian walk.

3) TRUTH

The resurrection affirms that Jesus is true to his word. Many times Jesus spoke of his death and how he will be raised from the dead. For example, he spoke of how he would break down the temple and rebuild it in three days.

John 2:19-21
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

After he died, Jesus had to be resurrected in order to fulfill his word.

Luke 24:6-8
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8 And they remembered his words,

After Jesus rose from the dead, he did not immediately go to heaven. He had to show himself to many people. At one point he appeared to five hundred people.

1 Corinthians 15:6
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

There are many other accounts where he showed himself to his disciples, including "doubting" Thomas:

John 20:24-29
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

If Jesus went immediately to heaven without giving witness on earth, the Pharisees allegations about a stolen body might have seemed true.

Matthew 27:62-64
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

The resurrection affirms the power, the hope, and the truth we have in Jesus and his word. We should be confident knowing that whatever God promises to do, he will do. Our trust should be in him alone.

 


Presented on 1 April 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana