Text: And with great power the Apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. — Acts 4: 33
Bible reading: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. — 1 Corinthians 15: 3–8
Bible reading: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. — 1 Corinthians 15:20–28
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith.
The gospels show that the disciples believed in the resurrection without really understanding its significance (John 20: 9). Only after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit did they become aware of all the implications of the resurrection. From that point onward, they preached the resurrection with all their power. Today as then, the Apostle ministry has the task of promoting and reinforcing belief in the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus—the core element of the gospel
The Apostles believed in the words of Jesus—not because of the miracles He had performed, but because He had resurrected from the dead and shown Himself to them (John 2: 22).
The significance of the resurrection
The resurrection served as confirmation that Jesus had been sent by His Father. It
- Shows that Jesus is the Lord before whom every knee will one day bow (Philippians 2: 10).
- Demonstrates that death does not have the final word and that nothing can separate us from Christ.
- Reinforces our belief that Jesus has the power to forgive sins.
- Strengthens our faith that God is a God of love and of life.
For us, the resurrection means that we
- Can look into the future with courage, bearing in mind the promise of the Lord in John 11: 25: “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
- Must endeavour to forgive our neighbour.
- Must endeavour to treat our neighbour with love, like Jesus did.
- Should keep the Sunday holy as the day of the resurrection (Catechism 22.214.171.124).
Our faith is based on the testimony of Easter as proclaimed by the Apostles: “The Lord is risen indeed!” (Luke 24: 34). The preaching of the Apostles about the resurrection had a deep impact upon the early Christians (Acts 4: 32–35).
- Material things lost their importance, which helped them to become one heart and one soul—an example we are to follow.
- They shared everything. Let us help to bear the cross and the burdens of others in love.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the foundation for, and the promise of, our own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 20–23). We will receive a spiritual body comparable to the glorified body of Christ (Catechism 126.96.36.199), and enter into eternal fellowship with God.
Because we desire to resurrect with Christ, let us already today live in Him and for Him, proclaim His resurrection, and align our lives by the gospel.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for Easter Sunday service held on Sunday, 5 April 2015 at Midrand Congregation