Christianity and the Resurrection

Have you ever heard your bible professor, pastor or bible teacher say that Christianity of the New Testament is a religion of resurrection? This thought process reflects not only the Gospels but the early church believed that Jesus had risen from the dead; they believed that Jesus himself believed he would rise from the dead. The Gospels point out very early that Jesus was conscious that death awaited him and they suggest more than this—that somehow his death and resurrection is the goal of his mission.
Mark 10:45 states, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (NAS). This pictures the lives of the many as being forfeited because of sin and Jesus claims to be able to redeem them by giving his own life. Put simply, Jesus’ mission was to serve—ultimately by giving his life in order to save sinful humanity. His life wasn’t “taken”; he “gave” it, offered it up as a sacrifice for people’s sins. A ransom was the price paid to release a slave from bondage. Jesus paid a ransom for us, and the demanded price was his life. The Greek word translated “for” (anti) includes the idea of substitution. Jesus took our place; he died the death we deserved. Peter later wrote that the payment was not in silver or gold, but “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). That payment freed us from our slavery to sin.
Mark 8:31 says, “And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (NAS).” Upon Peter’s revelation and the revealing of whom Jesus really was, Jesus begins to teach the disciples that he first had to suffer, be rejected, be killed, and rise again. But one day he would return in great glory to set up his eternal kingdom. Looking a little deeper at this passage we see that time and eternity are represented as two different realities of existence. I could put it this way, the kingdom of God is now, but its full reality will come at the end of this age.
John 12:24 says (NAS), “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Here, in the metaphor, Jesus is made to predict his own death, but beyond death is a new emergence into life to bear much fruit. This pictures beautifully the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground—where it actually dies—it will not become a blade of wheat producing many more grains and then the buried grain would eventually bring forth much fruit.
Without the substitutionary work of Jesus on the cross, Jesus’ crucifixion, death and shedding of his blood, there would be no ransom or payment for sin and freedom from the kingdom of evil. Without the resurrection, there would be no glorification and the release of Kingdom blessing. We are called to give Jesus everything, even if it costs us our life as it did him.

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