By Brian Key: One of my favorite psalms begins, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1–2). The phrase “forget not all his benefits” is an invitation to meditate on and celebrate all of the benefits of knowing God’s mercy and forgiveness. It’s a summons to call to mind what is true for those who know the covenant faithfulness of God, a God who doesn’t deal with us according to our sins but based on his abundant mercy. The psalmist calls us to remember all of his benefits. The Blessing of Eastertide In a similar way, the season of Eastertide is a summons to “forget not all the benefits” of knowing the resurrected Christ. Eastertide is a festal season on the liturgical calendar that traditionally marks the days between the resurrection and the ascension. It is a season
Why the Resurrection Matters: 1 Corinthians 15:16-17
Sam Storms: Today, the morning after Easter Sunday, 2023, it is just as important as it was yesterday to know why the resurrection of Jesus from the dead matters. Let me tell you what the Christian claim that Jesus literally rose from the dead means. It means that either I am a blubbering fool or I am telling you the single most important truth that you will ever hear. It means that either I am an absolute buffoon, most to be pitied, or I am a blessed man whose destiny is one filled with glory and honor and unending joy. And the same is true of you. Those are the options. There are no third alternatives. The reason I say this is because I’ve staked my life on the reality of an empty tomb. Everything I am, everything I own, everything I’ve done or hope to do hang suspended on whether or not Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.
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One of the Most Overlooked Arguments for the Resurrection
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
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How Does Easter Change Us?
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
The Christian Faith Is Not Based on the Evidence for the Resurrection
William Lane Craig: In considering the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, it is important to avoid giving the impression that the Christian faith is based on the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. The Christian faith is based on the event of the resurrection. It is not based on the evidence for the resurrection. This distinction is crucial. The Christian faith stands or falls on the event of the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christian is a myth, and we may as well forget it. But the Christian faith does not stand or fall on the evidence for the resurrection. There are many real events in history for which the historical evidence is slim or nonexistent (in fact, when you think about it, most events in history are of this character). But they did actually happen. We just have no way of proving that they happened. Thus, it is entirely conceivable that the resurrection of Jesus was a real
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Why Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
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
What Does It Mean to Be Dead to Sin?
J.D. Greear: Many people think that if Jesus paid it all, we now have this divine Visa card with an unlimited balance. We can just flash it whenever we want to cover whatever sin we choose. And as the Apostle Paul anticipated, some people will even justify their actions by saying, “Hey, if God gets more glory by showing grace, doesn’t my sinning give him more space to be glorified?” Paul answers those claims with the strongest negation possible: “By no means!” (I like how some of the older translations handle this phrase: God forbid!) Why is Paul so opposed to this line of thinking? He writes, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2 CSB) But that raises an interesting question in its own right, doesn’t it? What does he mean when he says we’ve died to sin? What Paul doesn’t mean is that we have lost all interest in sin. Certain streams of Christian thought have, in fact, taught that
How the Old Testament Prepares Us for the Third Day
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
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Don’t Just ‘Prove’ The Resurrection. Talk About Why It Matters.
Matthew Payne: Why did Jesus rise from the dead? In my experience most Christians can’t answer this question very well. I suspect that the reason is that they have hardly ever heard it taught. One of the most common answers I’ve heard over the years is that Jesus rose ‘to prove that he is God’. But the Bible never identifies this as the reason, and there was surely ample proof already available for Jesus’ divinity given the number of miracles that he performed in his public ministry. The problem is that some of the more difficult Christian doctrines tend to be reduced to apologetic hurdles to get over rather than being treated as central, interconnected parts of the Christian message. The Trinity, miracles, predestination, the resurrection… these are the kinds of topics that present difficulties to our secular worldview and logic. We therefore spend most of our time trying to prove that these things are true rather than explaining what
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10 Things You Should Know about the Resurrection
By Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything. 1. The resurrection is the core of the Christian message and should never be neglected or assumed. Sometimes today, when we hear the gospel preached, the focus is on the cross. The resurrection is often ignored, assumed, or mentioned only in passing. In contrast, the preaching recorded in the book of Acts emphasized the resurrection of Jesus, and barely mentioned his death. The apostles were preoccupied with the resurrection and emphasized it much more than the cross. Sadly, the church only seems to get excited about the resurrection once a year at Easter time. In reality, every Sunday should be Resurrection Sunday. The reason why the early church began to meet on the first day of the week was to celebrate Jesus’s defeat of death. Imagine what church would be like if we consciously gathered every week to celebrate the resurrection? 2. Belief in Jesus’s physical resurrection
You’re ‘More than a Conquerer’—But What Does that Mean?
Justin Holcomb: Because of Jesus’s resurrection, all threats against you are tamed. Jesus conquered death, so death and evil aren’t the end of the story. You can have hope. In Revelation, one of the key themes is conquering through suffering. The number of occurrences of the verb “to conquer” illustrates this (it appears 17 times). John describes amazing promises, addressing them specifically to those who “conquer”: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7) “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” (2:11) “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it” (2:17) “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations” (2:26) “The one
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Raised for us and our salvation
Matthew Barrett: Too often in our churches the resurrection of Christ is a doctrine of secondary importance. It is neglected and forgotten until Easter comes around each year. The same disregard for the resurrection is seen in how we share the gospel. Christians can tend to share the gospel as if Jesus died on the cross and that is the end of the story. We make a zip line from the crucifixion to “repent and believe,” contrary to the example Peter sets for us in Acts 2:22-24 and 4:26. As central as the cross is to our salvation (and it is absolutely central!), what was accomplished at the cross is truly incomplete if the tomb is not found empty on Sunday morning. Therefore, the resurrection of Christ is, to utilize the language of the Nicene Creed, absolutely vital “for us and our salvation.” But how exactly? Our Regeneration is Grounded in the Resurrection of Christ Have you ever read