It’s a word that you don’t hear very often in everyday conversation.
In fact, the concept of resurrection is something that has really just been confined to the realm of fantasy. The very idea of someone who is dead (really dead – not just passed out or comatose) being raised to life again is so absurd that it is really only reserved for the most outlandish of stories. Resurrection has become little more to the average person than a plot device that is only really taken up and used in the most unbelievable of fictional universes; universes where the dead rise again with a hunger for human flesh or where strange powers are at work and are causing those who died long ago to be reunited with their families. It is a concept so incredibly beyond the scope of believability that even Hollywood steers clear of it as far as they possibly can.
And yet, over the next week, millions of people all over the world will be gathering to specifically remember and celebrate the brutal murder and reported resurrection of a young carpenter from Galilee. Millions of people will come together to remember this young man who was called Jesus – Yeshua in his mother tongue – whom they believe to be the Son of God who died and rose from the grave 3 days later.
Isn’t it absurd?
As a Christian, the only reason I can rejoice in the death of Jesus is because I believe in that obscure and absurd concept – resurrection. When a Christian looks at the cross we are faced with a very strange situation: we are reminded of one who died but who is not dead. My remembrance of the suffering of Christ on the cross is a remembrance not only of the substitutionary work of Jesus and how he bore the penalty for my sin, but also of that Sunday morning where the tomb that he had been laid was found empty.
The Apostle Paul said this to the Corinthians:
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17
Resurrection may indeed seem to be a very odd and very peculiar thing – that’s because it is. It is by the supernatural raising of Christ from the dead that we can be sure that we can place our hope and trust in Him.
When Jesus uttered His dying words “It is Finished”, he was not talking about His life but rather His earthly mission – the salvation of sinners and reconciling them to God. If Jesus had remained dead in the grave, we would only have those three words to hope in, hoping that Jesus was who He claimed to be and that His sacrifice had been acceptable to God. If we had only those three words to go on, there would be a lot of room or doubt.
But because Jesus rose again on the third day and appeared to many of His followers, we can have absolute hope that His sacrifice was accepted by a Holy God and that Jesus did complete His work of salvation and reconciliation. The bible tells us that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”
Resurrection is absolutely a strange and an absurd concept. But it is also the foundation of the greatest reality – that Jesus Christ is the Son Of God with power to take away sin.