Many Christians think that the resurrection is something that needs to be proven. It is challenged by unbelievers, and so we assemble our arguments to show that Jesus did too rise from the dead. But the resurrection is not something requiring proof. It is proof.
The New Testament treats the resurrection, not as something demanding proof but rather as something that is proof.
For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)
If there were any doubt before His death, the resurrection of Jesus three days later was God’s final declaration that He was truly the Son of God (Rom 1:4).
The resurrection is not waiting around in order to be established as fact – it establishes the facts. And it is upon those facts that the Christian sets his hope.
Peter put it this way,
In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (1 Peter 1:3)
The resurrection and the resurrection alone establishes hope for humanity. Or, to put it another way, the resurrection of Jesus Christ – which guarantees our resurrection – is the only hope.
This means that every hope outside of the resurrection is hopeless. Which is why those societies that reject the resurrection end in self-destructive despair.
In 1st century Rome, which was very much like our own nihilistic day, it was not uncommon to read gravestones etched with despairing phrases like,
Non fi, non sum, non curo.
…which reads, “I was not, I am not, I care not.”
Without the resurrection, there is no hope.
Peter describes our hope as a living hope. What is a living hope? It is a hope that does not die. This means that the hope of the believer cannot be killed. Sorry, been there, done that.
Hope only goes as far as the object of your hope. When hope dies, you die.
If your hope is in your girlfriend and she dumps you, does hope die? If so, then she was the source of your hope.
If your hope is in your job and you get the sack, does hope die?.. if so, then your job was the source of your hope.
If your hope is in your reputation and you lose it, does hope die? If so, then your status was the source of your hope.
The resurrection stands at the centre of all human history as the greatest, most extraordinary event ever. Your body will be raised. You will have hands, feet, lungs and a pretty face. Restored, perfected and glorified.
We do not believe in the immortality of ghosts or mental essences, but in the resurrection of the body. The resurrection, therefore, changes everything.
Jesus Christ was crucified, died and on the third day, He rose from the dead.
And when we confess it and live by it, we are preaching nothing less than the hope and glory of the world.