Risen: Significance of the resurrection
The accounts of Jesus’ resurrection are more than inspiring stories. They recount a historical event of life-altering magnitude. Jesus died and came back to life. The resurrection proves Jesus was sinless, for if He had sinned, death would have the right to hold Him. It proves He is divine, for who but the creator of life has power over death? Because of who Christ is, the resurrection is an event unlike any other in history, which has the power to change us and give us hope.
Bottom Line: The resurrected Jesus can engage the deepest needs of our lives.
Something To Talk About:
Have you ever wondered what the significance of the resurrection means for you? Have you ever asked, so what? Discover how only a risen Jesus can engage your life’s deepest needs.
- The resurrected Jesus offers you hope in grief/loss: Even if the resurrection gives purpose and meaning, that doesn’t change the fact that life is hard, sometimes unbearably hard. There is hope even in life’s darkest and most difficult circumstances because Jesus rose from the grave. As Christians, the resurrection offers us hope in our loss and grief. (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) The resurrection of the Lord Jesus stands at the center of our hope as Christians. His resurrection guarantees the same for those who belong to Him. Consequently, believers have no “good-bye’s” or “see you later.” Charles Spurgeon, speaking of those in his congregation who had died, said, “The very happiest persons I have ever met with have been departing believers, the only people for whom I have felt any envy have been dying members of this very church, whose hands I have grasped in their passing away, almost without exception, I have seen in them holy delight and triumph and in the expectations to this, and in the exceptions to this exceeding joy, I’ve seen deep peace exhibited in a calm and deliberate readiness to enter into the presence of their God.”
- The resurrected Jesus offers you confidence in doubt: It’s easy to think of doubt as a sign of weak faith. But it’s not. God isn’t afraid of our doubts, so we don’t have to be either. Sometimes, we can doubt God’s goodness, Jesus’ concern for us, or the historical reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Unfortunately, we are afraid to talk to anyone about our doubts. Skeptics doubting the bodily resurrection of Jesus shouldn’t surprise anyone. Our occasional moments of doubt as Jesus’ followers shouldn’t surprise us. Simply put, our experience makes clear that dead people don’t rise from the dead. Funerals are our final farewell to the bodily presence of those we love, not a prelude to their appearance at a dinner party three days later. The disciples were skeptical, but that skepticism turned to passion as once fearful folks were so emboldened that they gave their lives to proclaim the resurrected Jesus they had seen. They wrote about Jesus’ resurrection while witnesses were still around to either confirm or deny their claims and in the places where Jesus was known.
- The resurrected Jesus offers you forgiveness and restoration in shame/guilt: The resurrection offers forgiveness for sinners. Guilt is a universal human experience. But the Christian has a different perspective: we feel guilty because we are guilty. Guilt is not illusory. We have wronged God, and we have wronged other human beings. The solution is not to deny the reality of guilt or to rely upon human effort but to embrace the forgiveness only Jesus offers. The Apostle Peter said: “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31). The resurrection offers answers for doubters, hope for grievers, and forgiveness for sinners. Understand that Jesus’ Resurrection is far greater than we can imagine. No matter how broken, distant, or forgotten you feel, there’s not only hope; there’s a promise kept by God and through Jesus that you are precious to Him and His love is for you. Do you have nothing to offer the relationship? That’s fine with God. He only asks that you come to Him and find His restoration for you.
- How much of a danger is there of losing the significance of Christ’s resurrection in our culture?
- Why do you think some people have a problem with the concept of Jesus’ physical resurrection? Do you ever think your Christianity is grounded in blind faith?
- What message was God sending mankind through Jesus’ resurrection?
- When did the reality of the resurrection of Christ first impact you?
- Do you have confidence that your faith is grounded in verifiable facts? What type of proof is offered for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15?
- Jesus invites us to come to Him to be refreshed, restored, and healed. Agree or disagree and why?
- What practical difference does the resurrection make to your day-to-day living?
- Should we be more excited about Easter? If so, how do we go about doing it?
- The evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a solid footing in times of doubt. Agree or disagree and why? The changed lives of the witnesses substantiate Jesus’ resurrection. How so?
- Why is it crucial to base our faith on the fact of Christ’s resurrection rather than on our personal religious experience?
- How can we apply this message to our lives this week?
Take One Thing Home with You
Consider the following evidence for the resurrection:
First, Christ predicted His resurrection. The Bible records, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem…He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.” (Matthew 16:21)
Second, Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch Him. Scripture records that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time.
Third, the unrelenting faith of the disciples is proof of the resurrection. Those disciples who were once so afraid that they deserted their Lord now courageously proclaimed this news, risking their lives to preach. Their bold and courageous behavior does not make sense unless they knew with absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
Fourth, how can you explain the growth of the Christian church? Peter’s first sermon on Christ’s resurrection stirred people to receive Him as their living Savior. Acts 2:41 records the results: “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” And that group of believers has multiplied until it now reaches worldwide and includes hundreds of millions of believers.