For many millions around the globe, this weekend is the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus points us to the resurrection that awaits us all – whether to death or to life (John 5:29). It points us to the one through whom life comes, and this by faith: “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)
The role of the original apostles was tied to the resurrection. Being a firsthand witness to the resurrection was a mandatory qualification to be an apostle. Yet for the apostles, witnessing the resurrection was not only their qualification but it was also their message that they were first hand qualified to preach and teach (Acts 1:22).
The apostles preached that King David foresaw the resurrection (Acts 2:30-31). Yet, their preaching and teaching of the resurrection caused a great disturbance among David’s people. The religious hated the apostles (Acts 4:2) and the philosophers thought they were strange (Acts 17:18), while others merely mocked (Acts 17:32). Yet, all along the Holy Spirit empowered them with signs and wonders to preach (and confirm) the resurrection (Acts 4:31). Thus, the message of the resurrection caused believers to distribute their wealth and care for the needy (Acts 4:34-35) because it literally changed their lives.
The message of the resurrection also comes with it a command to repent because God will judge the world. God’s appointed judge has been verified as Jesus by the very sign of his resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:30-31). The resurrection gives God’s people hope, and this hope brought the Apostle Paul to trial (Acts 23:6; 24:15, 21). We have light because of the resurrection (Acts 26:23) and the resurrection declares that Jesus truly is the Son of God i.e., God in the flesh (Rom 1:4). The resurrection also gives us confidence to live for Him, because if we are united with him in death we will be united with him in resurrection (Rom 6:5).
But sadly as many of these millions celebrate the resurrection, there will be, in fact, many who celebrate their bondage to sin. Why? Because there are many who wish to celebrate the resurrection without faith in Jesus and what he actually achieved for us on the cross and through the resurrection. He “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25). There are many who think repentance – if they even talk of repentance – is merely admitting that we are not perfect like everyone else. There are others who celebrate the resurrection with a different Jesus or a different gospel – a gospel which includes our cooperation or contributing works in order to be made right with God.
If we are not celebrating the biblical resurrection we are like prisoners of war in a prison camp cheering at the allies’ deliverance of a neighbouring POW camp – without realising the fact that they will not be coming to deliver our camp. How miserable we would be in the day of judgement, if that is us.
The resurrection is too important to get wrong and too wonderful to miss. I pray this weekend, we will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the place of deliverance not the place of imprisonment, condemnation and captivity.
May you be able to say with Apostle Peter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3–5)