Every Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It is the foundation of our faith, and without the resurrection are faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:14). Beyond proving that Jesus is the Christ, what does the resurrection prove? The resurrection is about much more than the eyewitness accounts of the Apostles seeing the risen Jesus. It is also about the new life that is present in every believer throughout time.
We have finite minds, and it is hard for us to grasp the miracle that is the resurrection. Jesus is a divine being, and as a divine being he resurrected from the dead to prove who he was. Though theologically true, this view leads to a somewhat simplistic understanding of the event. The resurrection can also be seen in the transformation of the believer. It is about the new life in Christ and not what the ocular vision of the disciples has perceived. Saint Paul also echoes this sentiment in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (NRSV).
The resurrection is a religious experience of one who has come to faith in Christ, and is much more than something that happened to those who physically encountered the risen Christ. According to Scholars such as Luke Johnson this is a common theme in the Pauline Corpus. Regarding this Dr. Johnson writes, “The resurrection experience, in Paul’s letters, is not something that happens to Jesus alone” (Johnson 25). Every Christian with a genuine faith in Christ experiences the resurrection in a special way through baptism. Through the sacrament of baptism original sin is wiped away, and we are raised in the newness of life.
Within the context of introducing the resurrection to Christian audience there are a couple of things to keep in mind. From an apologetics standpoint, it is important to know the reasoning as to why the resurrection is the foundation of the faith. One can go into the martyrdom of the early church because they were attesting to the resurrection. People do not die for a lie.
Secondly, it is more important to assist the audience in learning to relate to the resurrection in a deeper way. A way that is more personal, and something that they can share. Everyone has something deep in the recesses of their mind that they are ashamed of. It may be an addiction, adultery, or a gambling problem. These things are destructive, but when one comes to faith those things are in the past. They still may struggle, but through Christ they are resurrected and forgiven for those things that they have done. Those types of experiences are the modern-day equivalent of the disciples physically seeing the resurrected Jesus. Our former selves are dead and gone, but we were resurrected spiritually into a new creation. The disciples’ experience of Jesus raised and exalted is the difference between their faith in the gospel.
Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version
Johnson, Luke Timothy. “How Jesus Became God” Commonweal. 2/3/2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.