By Christopher L. Scott
If there is one event that Christianity relies on more than others, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. John Stott once said, “We live and die; Christ died and lived!” And that “died” and then “lived” is what our Christian faith is about.
The apostle Paul provides the best summary of the resurrection of Jesus in his letter to the believers in Corinth. Paul writes, “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, NLT).
Paul tells us that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Peter and the twelve disciples, 500 people at one time, James and all the apostles, and the apostle Paul. While some people try to say that Christ’s resurrection was a wishful hallucination of his broken-hearted followers after his death, it is difficult for me to believe that more than 525 people had a hallucination of Jesus Christ.
But what does Christ’s resurrection mean? If he died and came back to life, what was the point? The point is that Christians also get to experience a resurrection both spiritually and physically. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives (Romans 6:3-4, NLT).
There is a spiritual death to sin and resurrection back to life in Christ when we believe in him. There will be a resurrection physically for the Christians who have died. Paul wrote to the believers in the city of Thessalonica that when Christ returns “the Christians who have died will raise from their graves” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Because of Christ’s death and resurrection there are two resurrections for Christians. A spiritual resurrection of Christians at their moment of saving faith. And a physical resurrection when Christ returns to the earth.
Christ’s death is important, but so is his resurrection. Christians often focus on Christ’s death, yet, his resurrection deserves as much attention because it is through his resurrection that we have life. Christ’s death would have been meaningless if he had not also been raised from the dead three days later.
Christopher Scott is associate pastor at Rocky Hill Community Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-730-1906.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.