Our God of Resurrection
Our God is a God of resurrection. He brings dead things back to life.
Paula Fredriksen, a historian and professor of religion (though not a Christian), was asked the following question about the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection:
Q: "As a historian, what do you make of this ... the resurrection, of this shared conviction that Jesus had come back from the dead?"
A; "The stories about the Resurrection in the gospels make two very clear points. First of all, that Jesus really, really was dead. And secondly, that his disciples really and with absolute conviction saw him again afterwards. The gospels are equally clear that it's not a ghost. I mean, even though, the raised Jesus walks through a shop door in one of the gospels, there he suddenly materializes in the middle of a conference his disciples are having, he's at pains to assure them, "Touch me, feel me, it's bones and flesh." In Luke he eats a piece of fish. Ghosts can't eat fish. So what these traditions are emphasizing again and again is that it wasn't a vision. It wasn't a waking dream. It was Jesus raised.”
Dr. Fredriksen recognizes the key message of the resurrection accounts, that Jesus truly died and lived again. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to appreciate the implications of her own conclusion. What does it mean for us if Jesus truly died and came back to life as His disciples testified?
In calling the eyewitness accounts “traditions,” Dr. Fredriksen implies that the disciples’ accounts of Jesus' resurrection aren't trustworthy or believable. Her decision to dismiss these accounts out of hand is unfortunate, because the ramifications of the disciples' testimony – no matter how skeptical we may be – demand more thoughtful consideration.
Many men have laid claim to power over death, but their own deaths silenced those claims and revealed their deception. And among the few who have returned from death themselves (like Lazarus), none predicted their own resurrection in advance nor claimed to possess the power to repeat it.
Only Jesus demonstrated the power to resurrect the dead as He taught in the Galilee while also promising to raise Himself. Later, He proved Himself trustworthy with an empty tomb confirmed by eyewitnesses.
So who has the power to bring a dead body back to life? Even more, Who can accomplish that for Himself? Is it not the Creator alone? At the very least, the Creator must consent to such an act, which implies that He approves of the One Who receives such power. After all, would we expect the Creator to restore life to a person who misrepresented Himself as God? Surely not, and, therefore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead validates His claims.
So let’s consider Jesus’ claims. Jesus said:
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
John 6:40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
John 9:36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
John 9:37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”
John 9:38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.
Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luke 24:46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
Luke 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
As we approach our annual celebration of Easter, the day we remember the resurrection of our Lord, pay attention to the claims of One Who possesses power over death. Note that He declared Himself to be God, to be our means to eternal life and our eventual return from the dead. Most importantly, He declared that He was prepared to forgive us of our sins by faith in His claims alone. Given His resurrection, we should pay close attention to Jesus' claims and then respond to Him in the only reasonable way. To quote Jesus again:
Luke 12:4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.
Luke 12:5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
Our God is a God of resurrection. He brings dead things back to life. He can raise your soul to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. He will one day raise your mortal body, and for those who confess Jesus as Lord, that will be a glorious day indeed. If you're ready to acknowledge Jesus' claims, then consider Paul's teaching: