I was just wondering; I believe Jesus died and was raised from the dead. I
also believe in the resurrection. However what is the point of the
resurrection? Was it just an example of God’s power? Other people have
been raised from the dead. What really makes Christ’s resurrection so

There are many things which make the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
very special indeed. In fact, I would say that the resurrection of Jesus
is the central miracle of the Bible. Let me give a number of reasons that
the resurrection is absolutely key to the entire plan of God from the

First, consider Colossians 1:18, which includes the statement concerning
Jesus that he is “the firstborn from among the dead.” It is true that the
widow’s son was raised by Elijah ( 1 Kings 17), that Peter raised Tabitha
from the dead (Acts 9) and that Jesus raised Lazarus (John 11) and others
from the dead. However, all of these people died later. They were raised
with a perishable body. Jesus was raised into an imperishable body. He is
the first born among many of us who will rise at a future time in
imperishable bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-57; “the perishable must clothe
itself with the imperishable”). Jesus’ resurrection points us toward a
future everlasting life with God. His resurrection provides proof that
there will be a Judgment Day. This is stated explicitly in Acts 17:31,
where Paul said concerning Judgment Day that “He has given proof of this
to all men by raising him from the dead.”

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead gives all disciples of Jesus hope.
It gives us hope of an eternal life in heaven with God. We are reminded of
this in 1 Peter 1:3; “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 points us toward another importance of the resurrection of Jesus
Christ. If Jesus had simply died on the cross, that would not have been
enough. The resurrection of Jesus is part of the process by which we are
saved. Consider 1 Peter 3:21,22, which says, concerning baptism in water,
“It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into
heaven and is at God’s right hand?with angels, authorities and powers in
submission to him.” Here we see that the resurrection of Jesus “saves” us.
Romans 6:1-14 brings out this doctrine more fully. For example in Romans
6:5 it says, “If we have been united with him in his death, we will
certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Also, one finds
the statement in Romans 6:8, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that
we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from
the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The
death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he
lives to God.” Again, we see that the resurrection of Jesus provides for
us an opportunity to rise with Christ to live a new life. We can see again
here that Jesus is truly the first born from among the dead. “Death no
longer has mastery over him.”

Many other reasons could be mentioned which prove that the resurrection of
Jesus is central to the gospel message and to the entire Bible. Let me
mention just one more. The resurrection of Jesus is the fulfillment of
prophecies of Jesus himself as well as prophecies in the Old Testament.
Jesus predicted his resurrection many times and in many ways. When the
Pharisees demanded a miraculous sign, Jesus replied that the only sign he
would give them was the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-42) “For as Jonah was
three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man
will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. ” With
hindsight, this is clearly a prophecy of his death and resurrection on the
third day. Matthew 16:21, and John 2:19 (“Destroy this temple and I will
raise it again in three days”) are two more among many prophecies of Jesus
that he would be raised from the dead. When Jesus came through on this
promise and was raised on the third day, this validated all of his claims
about himself. For anyone to claim to be God would be lunacy, unless that
same person could predict his own resurrection on the third day, and, with
the help of God, pull it off! In addition, of course, the resurrection of
the Messiah from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament. The
incident with Jonah serves as a physical prophecy of the resurrection. One
could also mention Psalms 16:8-11 and others.

To summarize, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day is
the central miracle in the Bible and in God’s entire dispensation for
mankind. It serves as proof that we too will rise to face judgment. The
resurrection of Jesus is essential to our being raised to a new life after
participating in the death of Jesus in baptism. The resurrection provides
proof that the Bible is inspired by God and it provides us with proof that
Jesus had every right to say the amazing things he said about both us and

John Oakes, PhD

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