The first is the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospels clearly teach that Jesus died on a cross, was buried and on the third day came back to life. The death is clear. The Romans, who knew death when they saw it, pushed a spear up into his side just to make sure. The return to life is also clear. It is emphasized that it was a physical resurrection, not just a “spiritual” resurrection.
Jesus went out of His way to reinforce this.
(John 20:27 KJV) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.And in a longer passage it becomes clear that the gospel is underlining the fact of the physical resurrection. You see, even the disciples, who were there, had questions. Jesus answered them two ways.
(Luke 24:39-43 KJV) Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.First, He let them examine Him. He acknowledged their concern and answered it. And then He ate. Ghosts don’t eat. We have all seen the cartoons with Casper the Friendly Ghost taking a bite of cake and having it fall to the floor.
And yet people still try to deny that Jesus was physically resurrected. They are like fish the don’t want to believe in the existence of water.
The second branch is the resurrection of the dead. Notice I said “the dead.” This will involve both believers and non-believers. Everyone will be resurrected. Non-believers will be resurrected for the judgement. Believers will be resurrected to live eternally in the presence of God.
For our purposes I want to underscore the resurrection of believers. Read through I Corinthians 15, if you have any doubts about it. Paul starts off talking about the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:That seems clear. Why do people who call themselves Christian still dispute it? But like most heresy, it is not new. Even Paul was dealing with this issue.
(1 Corinthians 15:12 KJV) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?And then he makes that statement that brings me to why the resurrection of Jesus is so important:
(1 Corinthians 15:13-14 KJV) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.Everything that involves being a Christian hinges on the physical resurrection of Jesus. If He was not raised, out faith is “vain.” That means useless. Read the rest of the chapter and next time someone tells you some weird story about what happened at the cross don’t even try to be polite. You can feel free to laugh. And have pity. They have no hope.
I trust that you do.
homo unius libri