What Does Jesus’ Resurrection Mean for Us
We often speak about the importance of the cross, that is, the world-defining death of Jesus, the sacrifice by which he paid for our sins in taking our punishment in our place so that we might be restored to God.
But we can sometimes skip over the importance of Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, it is so important that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity! This is because without Jesus being brought to life we have no hope of being brought to life ourselves. We are united to Jesus in his death and in his resurrection, and we receive the benefit of both (Col 2:12; Rom. 6:4)! We have started to receive this new life already, as the Holy Spirit renews our hearts, and when Jesus returns we will be fully renewed, freed from sin and death forever.
And this isn’t just limited to us, but Jesus’ resurrection brings new life to the whole creation, which “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22). Because we were placed in charge of creation (Gen. 1:28-30) our whole universe has been broken by our rebellion against God. And while the effects of Jesus’ resurrection are not yet felt directly in the physical world around us, the whole creation awaits the day when God’s people will be finally renewed at Jesus’ return (Rom 8:18-21), and we will rule over the world with care as God intended. This should encourage us to care for the world in its current, broken state. While we can’t totally remove the effects of sin from creation, we can glorify God by taking better care of it now.
I loved the Narnia books as a child, and as I’ve learnt more about faith, I’ve been constantly struck by how well C.S. Lewis captured eternal truth in children’s novels. One example sums this up perfectly, in ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’. In the book, Aslan (the Jesus figure) was explaining to Lucy and Susan how it was that he had been resurrected after being killed by the Witch, and he says “when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, Death itself would start working backward.”
What a beautiful picture of the importance of Jesus resurrection! He didn’t just pay the penalty for our sin, but he broke death itself, and death has begun to work backward. First, we are given eternal life, and we are shaped increasingly according to Jesus’ image. And at his return, the grip of death over both God’s people and God’s creation will be shattered, and we will forever enjoy a renewed universe, free from sin and its effects.
Let’s live our lives now embracing the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, through which we have the certain hope that the work we see the Spirit starting in our hearts will one day be fully completed in ourselves and in our world at Jesus’ return!