This Sunday is somewhat significant. It is, unbelievable as it may seem to look at her, my wife’s 30th birthday!! But even more importantly (it’s OK, I’m sure she’d agree!), it’s the day set aside for us to remember God’s risen son and His empty tomb. So let’s take the opportunity to do just that…


As Reformed Evangelicals we can be charged with focussing too much on Jesus’ death and not enough on his resurrection. It’s perhaps a merited claim – the thought did occur to me when I joined CCB. However, in a way I think such prioritisation is fair enough and is based on rather more than bloodlust – it is after all the cross that saves. Our predicament could not be resolved by resurrection alone, for that doesn’t atone for our wrongdoing. The sinful rebellion that separates us from God could not be forgiven on the basis of the dead rising, but by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, slain in our place. As P.T. Forsyth wrote, quoted in Stott’s masterpiece ‘The Cross of Christ’ (p.43), ‘Christ is to us just what his cross is. All that Christ was in heaven or on earth was put into what he did there… You do not understand Christ till you understand his cross’.


But neither could the cross be attributed its current status if Christ had remained dead. What use is a dead saviour?? The rotted corpse of Christ would speak of Satan’s victory and a job well done by those who opposed the gospel – it would provide little comfort to his demoralised apostles, and would be unlikely to have inspired them to martyr’s deaths in the cause of spreading Jesus’ words. No, the first Christian leaders were revitalised then commissioned by the Risen Lord. It is by the Resurrection that we ever knew of God’s love for us, as demonstrated by the sacrifice of His Son. Now it is Jesus alive who intercedes on our behalf at the right hand of the Father. It is by the miracle of the third day that we know death is defeated and thus face our own demise with confidence. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith’. It is the resurrection that assures us of God’s eventual victory and the futility of opposing Him. It is the fact Jesus is alive that places Him above Mohammad, Buddha or even Abraham, mere historical figures all. Were he still dead, the mockery of those who deemed him fit only for a crown of thorns would yet ring out. So then; the resurrection needs the cross and the cross needs the resurrection. Jesus was fully aware of both aspects of his chosen fate long before this day, Maundy Thursday, 2000-odd years ago. He thus told his disciples that the Gentiles ‘will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him’ but that ‘three days later he will rise.’ (Mark 10:34).


And what does this resurrection mean to me, given that this blog is generally a little more geared towards personal application? Well I’m not sure I know of a clever lesson to be learned – the resurrection was, after all, the point at which Jesus decisively showed himself to transcend mere humanity – but it does invoke in me gratitude and excitement. Gratitude; that I am assured of my salvation and of Christ’s victory by his having risen again. Excitement; every time I read again of the women at the tomb and of the Road to Emmaus. This drama trumps the resurrection climax of The Matrix or Harry Potter, even whilst it inspires them! It is just the most fantastic realisation… that Jesus, whom they love, is alive and triumphant. It was laughable to imagine death could contain the Son of God. Everything he told them was true. It must have just been awesome… as it will be when we get to see him in the flesh.


When arguing with atheists, I’m sometimes asked, incredulously, whether I honestly believe this could have taken place. Well if it’s ridiculous to believe the empty tomb (and no Jew or Roman was ever able to produce the body, much as they must have ached to quell the growing excitement), then how much more so to believe that God could create even one planet or forgive my many sins. So it is that, strengthened by the evidence of the world around me, and by the evidence of a changed life and heart, and by the trustworthiness of God’s Word that explains both… I can say, with confidence; I am really very thankful for the resurrection and for another Easter Sunday. Have a good one!


1 comment so far

  1. Eremeeff on

    Not sure that this is true:), but thanks for a post.
    Thank you

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