This is Episode 83 of the Jesus Society Podcast. And today we come now to the most important event in Christianity — the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead stands as the central, defining feature of the Christian hope. Paul says that very clearly in 1 Corinthians 15, which is the most thorough explanation of the resurrection in the Bible. He says:
1. If Christ has not been raised, then our message is in vain, and so is our faith (v. 14).
2. If Christ has not been raised, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Jesus (v. 15).
3. If Christ has not been raised, our faith is worthless; and we are still in our sins (v. 17).
4. If Christ has not been raised, those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished (v. 18). In other words, there’s no future hope for them.
But the point is that there’s a lot hanging on the resurrection. It’s been said that if you take away the stories of Jesus’ birth from the Bible, you lose a few chapters, but really nothing else. But if you strip away the resurrection, you lose most of the New Testament, which hangs on it, and Christianity itself crumbles. It’s that important.
What I want to try and sketch out today is how the resurrection of Jesus became the central, defining feature of Christianity. What did the earliest Christians believe happened at the resurrection? What did it mean to them? Because whatever it meant fueled and drove the earliest Christian communities to transform their world.
It made them confident and fearless in the face of hostile and powerful opposition. And it made them unyielding carriers of love and healing and redemption into the world around them. They cared for the sick, provided for the poor, and took care of the weak. It inspired them to live lives of holiness in a way that was utterly unknown to the world around them. And they created a unity among themselves that was without parallel.
And all of that was fueled by what they believed happened in that tomb on that first Easter morning.
So what on earth did they believe happened at the resurrection? What did it mean to them? To understand that, we need to go back to the Bible and lay some groundwork.
Join me today as we discuss:
1. The hope of God’s great new world.
2. Total destruction or the renewal of everything?
3. How Jesus’ resurrection was God’s first act of new creation.
4. How Jesus’ resurrection gives us both hope and a new vocation.
5. How only the bodily resurrection of Jesus explains the rise and resolve and hope and mission of the early church.
The resurrection of Jesus signaled that a new day had dawned. God was at last beginning to heal and renew the world with wise, generous, redemptive love. And as Christians, Jesus expects us to carry on with that vocation.
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Thanks for listening!
And remember, you are greatly loved.
Music and audio production by Nathan Longwell Music
Resources for Today’s Show:
1. N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne, 2008) — https://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Rethinking-Resurrection-Mission-Hardcover/dp/B00DWWBL24/ref=monarch_sidesheet.
2. John Eldredge, All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love (Thomas Nelson, 2018) — https://www.amazon.com/All-Things-New-Restoration-Everything/dp/1400207525/ref=sr_1_1?