“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
Jesus is the resurrection. Here is one of the most profound truths of the Bible. He is not a resurrection, but the vital resurrection. It seems surreal to talk of more than one resurrection, but there have been many, including a widow’s only son, Lazarus, and Tabitha (Luke 7:15; John 11:43-44; Acts 9:40). When Christ was crucified, “The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53). How many more people today can testify that their hearts stopped beating and they were declared dead before being resuscitated? But all these died again; only Jesus was raised to eternal immortality.
It was impossible for Jesus to remain dead (Acts 2:24). There is no evidence of anyone anywhere seeing his physically dead body after the discovery of the empty tomb. Christ’s resurrection is a historical fact reported under the divine authority of the Bible, with the lack of physical evidence for an alternate reality. Its truth is not dependent upon your faith or mine. He is risen. “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (Acts 2:24)
Paul rightly directs us to perceive God with “The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23). Scripture offers us the highest wisdom if we will only read and embrace it. In the Old Testament, God exercised his omnipotent power in many ways, including creating the world, flooding the earth, confusing the peoples’ speech at the Tower of Babel, calling Abraham, providing Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph to birth twelve tribes, delivering his people from slavery in Egypt through the exodus, wiping out the pagan nations from Canaan, giving Israel a king, and preserving the Jews in Persia. In the New Testament Jesus performed many miracles, healed diseases, saved the lost, exorcised demons, and defeated every enemy, including Satan. But God’s greatest power is seen in Jesus’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. It is power of the resurrection that Paul calls “immeasurably great,” emanating from Christ’s seat in heaven. These are truths of Scripture for our comfort, encouragement, and witness.
What are we to do with these indicatives? “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
He is risen indeed, and us with him.