Michael J. Kruger: Well, soon it will be Easter. That wonderful time of the year when we remember (and celebrate) the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But, not all will be celebrating. There are many that find Easter to be a senseless holiday—apart from, perhaps, the joys of Sunday brunch or chocolate eggs. After all, it is argued, we all know that people don’t rise from the dead. And there are no reasons to think it happened in the case of Jesus of Nazareth. In response to such skepticism, apologists have been making their best arguments for the resurrection. There’s the empty tomb. There’s the fact that women were the first eyewitnesses which was unlikely to be invented. And there’s the larger appearance to the 500 witnesses. But, of course, each of these claims has been contested. As for the empty tomb, scholars have argued that standard Roman practice was to put crucified criminals in a common grave, not
John Piper: The effect of Christ’s resurrection on our present life as Christians is immeasurably great. I mean, none of us has exhausted the possibilities of what God may be willing to do in us and through us because of the power of the resurrection of Christ in us. And I say that because Paul said in Ephesians 3:20, “[God] is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” And he identified that power in chapter 1 this way: “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe . . . that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19–20). There’s the connection between Ephesians 3:20 and 1:19: the power that makes it possible for us to do far more abundantly than we even dream we could is the very power of God that he worked when he raised Christ from the dead. So, Allison’s
Brian Rosner: Why did Jesus rise from the dead? According to 1 Peter 1:3, his resurrection brings us at least two life-changing benefits: a living hope and a new life. Let’s consider these twin truths—twin promises—from the New Testament’s broader witness. Raised to Provide a Living Hope Death is a terrible thing. Most people face their own death with understandable trepidation. And if human life is about relationships, the death of loved ones rob us of those relationships we value most. The resurrection of Jesus means followers of Christ don’t face death as those who lack hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Paul’s great exposition of the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 climaxes with the words: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Cor. 15:54–55) Through Christ’s resurrection, death has lost its sting. By his resurrection, he destroyed death and brought “life and immortality to light” (2 Tim. 1:10). But
Justin Dillehay: When I was a church teen in the 1990s, one of hottest new Christian bands was Third Day. The name seemed like a riff on the mainstream band Third Eye Blind, but we all know where it really came from. According to Paul’s gospel, Christ was “raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” This is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3–5). We all know that Christ rose on the third day. But we probably aren’t as familiar with the latter half of Paul’s statement, namely, that Christ was “raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:4). This wasn’t just something that happened in history; it was also prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus himself says the same thing in Luke 24:46: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.” Which raises the question, where? Where is it written that Christ would
Sam Storms: If you plan on being in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 18, I want to invite you to join us for our traditional “Good Friday” service at 6:30 p.m. in our auditorium. I would also encourage you to invite friends and family members who may not know Jesus and his saving love. This will be a wonderful time for them to hear a short and pointed presentation of the gospel. So, why do we speak of the Friday when Jesus was brutalized and crucified as good? It would almost seem as if there could hardly be a day that is worse! In one sense, you are correct. Jesus was unjustly tried, lied about, scourged, and sadistically crucified. But in a far more ultimate sense this was immeasurably good. It was good for two reasons. First, the crucifixion of Jesus, as horrible and unjust as it was, fulfilled God’s plan. Peter declared this in Acts 4:27-28 by reminding us that, in crucifying
Kevin DeYoung: There were a lot of shocking things said and done on Good Friday. This paragraph describes one you may not have considered before. And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:26-31).
The resurrection: Vindicates the life, ministry, teaching and especially the death of Christ. Shows Christ’s victory over sin, Satan, hell and death. Validates the believer’s justification and forgiveness Serves as a visual-aid for the believer’s new risen life in Christ. Verifies the Christian’s own ultimate resurrection and eternal blessedness in the new creation. The unveiling of the new creation; its inauguration.
Paul Tripp: I love Easter. I love the celebratory music we sing at church. I love the passages of Scripture we read during worship. And most of all, I love the visual image of the empty tomb. I’m deeply persuaded that the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ reveals three fundamental character qualities about God. 1. FAITHFUL The empty tomb reveals that God is faithful. Centuries earlier, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, God promised that He would crush wrong once and for all. He sent his Son to defeat sin and death by his crucifixion and resurrection. For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from His promise. He didn’t grow weary, nor would he be distracted. He made a promise, and he controlled the events of history (large and small) so that at just the right moment, Jesus Christ would come and fulfill what had been promised. 2. POWERFUL The empty tomb also reveals that
By Matthew Barrett: Does the resurrection of Christ matter? Does it truly make a difference? The apostle Paul sure thought so. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul was faced with the startling news that some in Corinth denied the future resurrection of the body. Such a view was adopted by many in the Greco-Roman world. Death was the end. Actually, not much has changed since the first century. Today, the same view is held by skeptics of the faith. What was so shocking, however, is that in Paul’s day, some Christians, who affirmed the bodily resurrection of Jesus, nonetheless denied the future resurrection of the body. Paul responds with boldness, arguing that you cannot have one without the other. If there is no future resurrection for believers, then Christ himself has not been raised! And if Christ has not been raised, then everything changes. Let’s explore the consequences of the resurrection of Christ for the Christian life. 1. The resurrection of
Al Mohler: The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority. The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that
By John Mark McMillan Though the Earth Cried out for blood Satisfied her hunger was Her billows calmed on raging seas for the souls on men she craved Sun and moon from balcony Turned their head in disbelief Their precious Love would taste the sting disfigured and disdained On Friday a thief On Sunday a King Laid down in grief But awoke with the keys Of Hell on that day The first born of the slain The Man Jesus Christ Laid death in his grave So three days in darkness slept The Morning Sun of righteousness But rose to shame the throes of death And over turn his rule Now daughters and the sons of men Would pay not their dues again The debt of blood they owed was rent When the day rolled a new On Friday a thief On Sunday a King Laid down in grief But awoke with the keys To Hell on that day The
The New Testament presents the death of Christ as a multifaceted diamond. One facet of the gem is expiation: Christ’s sacrifice removed the liability to punishment and condemnation under which sinful people suffered (Heb. 9:6–15). A second facet is propitiation: Christ’s death appeased the wrath of God against his sinful creatures (Rom. 3:25–26; 1 John2: 2). The gem’s third facet is redemption: The death of Christ is the payment he offered to God to buy captives out of the slave market of sin (Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 1:18–19). The fourth facet of the diamond is reconciliation: Christ’s death has taken sinners from being enemies of God to being his friends and children (2 Cor. 5:17–21). The fifth facet is Christ the Victor: Through his death, Christ achieved ultimate victory over Satan and the demons (Heb. 2:14–15; Col. 2:15). A sixth facet is example: Christ’s death is both a demonstration of Gods love and a model of obedience and suffering for believers to follow (Rom. 5:8; 1
The following excerpt is from: Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore (Crossway, 2011). The quote is worthy of a slow and careful read (from pages 124-125). My thanks to Tony Reinke for this: Part of the curse Jesus would bear for us on Golgotha was the taunting and testing by God’s enemies. As he drowned in his own blood, the spectators yelled words quite similar to those of Satan in the desert: “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32). But he didn’t jump down. He didn’t ascend to the skies. He just writhed there. And, after it all, the bloated corpse of Jesus hit the ground as he was pulled off the stake, spattering warm blood and water on the faces of the crowd. That night the religious leaders probably read Deuteronomy 21 to their families, warning them about the curse of
“The whole life of Christ was a continuall Passion; others die Martyrs, but Christ was born a Martyr… His birth and his death were but one continuall act, and his Christmas-day and his Good Friday, are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.” —John Donne, opening his Christmas sermon (Dec 25, 1626). (HT: Tony Reinke)
This week’s sermon from John Piper: “I Have Seen the Lord” A generation ago, resurrection was the crux of Christian faith. If you believed Jesus was raised, you were a Christian. If you didn’t accept the resurrection, you essentially abandoned the rest of the faith. But the idols are different today. The idol of modernistic certainty is giving way to the idol of subjective usefulness. “If believing in the resurrection is beneficial for you, then fine; just don’t push it on me.” But the gospel cuts against the grains of both modern and postmodern thinking. The resurrection is more than a historical question and its implications will one day matter to you, whether you feel the personal relevance today or not. God designed that we would “see” the truth of the resurrection 20 centuries later through the inspired testimony of those who talked to, touched, and interacted with the resurrected Jesus. Their witness in the New Testament becomes a kind
I love this from Marcus Honeysett: Easter explains everything. Because the cross of Jesus Christ is the centre of everything. And I mean everything! Most amazingly it explains creation. Why creation? So that God can display the glory of his grace for his praise. And he does that in clearest and most extreme splendour at the cross. Picture the vast expanse of creation in all its magnificence with a searing white hot focal point to all time and space. A singularity, a coalescence of all the eternal purposes and infinite power of God in one place and instance. That focus is the cross It explains why the world is the way it is – rebellion that needs atonement; creation subjected to decay and groaning waiting for the glorious liberation of the children of God, supremely accomplished through the cross It explains the depths of distress and degradation in the human heart – the ultimate expression of human evil is the