Two Reasons the Resurrection is a Necessity

Resurrection

Yesterday was Easter Sunday – the day Christians all over the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.

But why? Why celebrate the resurrection? Why was it necessary? There are at least two reasons the resurrection is a necessity.

Two Reasons the Resurrection is a Necessity

(1) The resurrection was necessary to prove Jesus’ death actually satisfied God’s wrath.

In Philippians 2, we learn that Jesus is glorified. He is highly exalted and made to be our king because He humbled himself on the cross.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:8–11)

Jesus wouldn’t have been resurrected and made our King, He wouldn’t be exalted, if His sacrifice wasn’t sufficient and satisfied God’s wrath.

So Jesus’ resurrection was a necessity because it proves His sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins. Without it we are all still damned to hell.

(2) The resurrection was necessary because without it we couldn’t experience eternal life.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:20-22).

If Christ had not raised from the dead, then we wouldn’t either. Death is the end. Eternal life doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist.

Thankfully that isn’t true. Thankfully the resurrection happened, which means this world isn’t the end for us. Eternal life is to come. Life in a perfect world, ruled by a perfect King is to come. There is hope. There is something for us to look forward to.

Question for Reflection

  1. What reasons would you give for the necessity of the resurrection?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: The Seriousness of Sin and the Necessity of the Cross and Resurrection

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6 thoughts on “Two Reasons the Resurrection is a Necessity

  1. I’ll be a bit of a contrarian and say the resurrection wasn’t necessary.

    The resurrection was done in love. In my view, it is a gift from his heart to mine. I say this with the idea that your thoughts are more on the lines of a necessity of completing prophecy. To that end, it may be a necessity but in the end, God is God and it isn’t necessary for him to do anything for me. It is his choice and I see over and over that he chooses love and grace and mercy because he is love.

    I don’t say this to argue because I feel I am approaching it from a different angle, but only a thought I have following this season where God’s love never shined more brightly than when people found the tomb empty and Jesus alive.

    1. Jeff,

      I agree to a certain extent. God is love and what He does for us He does out of love. I would also agree He didn’t have to save us or provide a way for us to experience eternal life. All done in His love, mercy and grace.

      I, however, believe in the necessity of the resurrection. Paul makes this argument in 1 Corinthians 15. Here is part of his argument.

      Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.
      But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor 15:13-21).

      The main point I want to make in quoting all that is our faith is futile if Christ hasn’t been raised. He is the second Adam. The one who provides life instead of death to those who follow Him.

      If the second Adam has not been raised to eternal life, then we will not be raised to eternal life. His resurrection then gives us hope.

      As well as it is necessary because if it didn’t happen, we could not also be resurrected. Jesus defeats death when he is raised. Death then isn’t the end. This is why Paul can say that death has no hold on him. He no longer feels it’s sting. It has been defeated.

      So without the resurrection we are all damned to eternal death. The grave and God’s wrath is all we can look forward to. But because of the resurrection we can look forward to life eternal.

      Thanks again for your comment. I enjoy interacting on these topics.

      Blessings,
      Casey

  2. A few of thoughts…

    Regarding the Philippians quote, I would suggest another reading: instead of presuming a required blood sacrifice of a son to a God of Wrath (which the pagan traditions already offered), what if we presume Jesus’ sacrifice was of a different nature? A sacrifice which was made so that other’s might live; and in the the most immediate sense, those who were following him, and even many of those who were not, yet were in Jerusalem for Passover.

    I’ll briefly unpack that a bit, if you wish, touching on the high points.

    What kind of messiah?
    Jesus was a messiah of peace (entering Jerusalem from the opposite gate as the Romans, riding a donkey, symbol of victory vs. a war horse).
    But few would have understood a messiah of peace. There is no Jewish tradition of a peaceful messiah! (Jesus, and his disciples were all Jewish, of course.) The messiah always overthrows the occupying armies and obtains victory through battle, politics, or heavenly intervention. None of these are the model offered by Jesus. Thus no one understood his core message of Love (and by extension compassion and peace). I suggest this is one reason why Jesus is reported to frequently tell people to remain silent as to who he was and what his mission may have been.

    Passover riots and massacres.
    We may assume Jesus would have been well aware of the riots that had taken place in Jerusalem during major religious festivals, including previous Passover celebrations. The Roman’s ended riots one way: massacring a great number of people!
    To my reading, this insight is critical for better understanding the motives of Jesus’ actions during his last week in Jerusalem. Compassion filled his heart. How could he have knowingly permitted himself to become the spark that lead to the death of thousands of innocent people?

    What kind of God does Jesus serve?
    One demanding blood sacrifice? One demanding that his own son be that sacrifice? How then, does this differ from Baal or Molech, and similar gods of the Cananites and nearby cultures?

    Jeremiah 32:35 (NRSV)
    35 They built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter my mind that they should do this abomination, causing Judah to sin.

    God the Father (the Uncreated God) is speaking in the above verse: “…nor did it enter my mind…” which is to say God the Father never entertained this thought, and in fact considered it an abomination. So why would God then require his own son to become a blood sacrifice?

    If we allow that God required the murder of his own son, we have to be able to answer the question of how this does not demonstrate the Uncreated God the Father is not the same as Baal or Moleck. It seems to me, we have to make a choice for Charity (in the Augustinian sense) & Love, or for Maleficence & Hate: Whom do we worship?

    Loss of Greek Language
    The highly respected professor of ancient Greek, the late Dr. J. W. Hanson, wrote a book I have found extremely informative: “Universalism.” In this book Hanson discusses a number of important events during the first 500 years of Christianity. In short, we in the West lost a great deal of the subtle understanding of the Greek language (the Western church tradition stems from the Latin church: Augustine; Aquinas; etc.). If we are to recover this, we have to better understand not only the original meaning of the Greek, but also the interpretations of the Church Fathers, for this is our inheritance.

    Taking in the view of the above, to me, reveals a God of Love and Compassion, as taught by the very best of Augustine; in place of a pagan god of fire, blood, and death. For me this is one of the greatest misapprehensions of the Uncreated God which modern church traditions have (I argue mistakenly) inherited.

    The Apostle Paul
    Regarding Paul and death, one must also find a way of working this apprehension into the knowledge that Paul fully expected to be alive when Jesus returned. For Paul the resurrection was a contemporaneous event! Not something which would take place thousands of years later.
    Paul is certainly very important to our better understanding one of the earliest Jewish-Gentile forms of Christianity. But we must also try to understand the world in which Paul lived, and how this coloured the lens through which he saw his world.

    Respectfully yours.

    1. Erik,
      Thanks for your detailed comment. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the sacrifice of Jesus. Here is why I believe Jesus’ sacrifice was a blood sacrifice to satisfy the wrath of God.

      In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices were offered to God to atone for the sins of the people. Apart from the laws for sin offerings (Leviticus 4) and guilt offerings (Leviticus 5), we also have the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) where one animal was killed for the sins of the people and one animal is sent out into the wilderness to represent the sins of the people being taken away. These sacrifices were inadequate. They had to be performed often. In the case of Atonement offering, it had to be performed once a year. Christ’s sacrifice, according to Hebrews 9 and 10, was a once for all sacrifice that atoned for the sins of the people.

      The sacrifice Jesus offered was a blood offering. Hebrews 9 and 10 make it explicit that Jesus’ blood was spilt to satisfy the wrath of God and make atonement for the people.

      Also, Isaiah 53:4-6 says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

      Paul agrees Jesus’ sacrifice was a blood sacrifice when he writes in Romans 5:9-11, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

      There are many more passages I could point to throughout Scripture (both OT and NT) that tell us Jesus’ sacrifice was a blood offering. I think, however, the ones listed suffice.

      Jesus’ sacrifice has to be a blood sacrifice because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So through His spilt blood, God’s wrath is satisfied. Through His death, we have life (Rom 5:12-21).

      To answer your question above: What kind of God does Jesus serve? He serves a holy and just God. If God were not to punish those who deserve punishment, He would fail to be holy and just. You see, God cannot just be a God of love. God has other attributes. Attributes that require Him to act in a just way. Attributes that require Him to punish all those who reject Him to live according to their own will.

      Thankfully, even though we serve a God of justice, we also serve a God of grace, mercy, and love who gave Himself so that we might have life. Jesus’ sacrifice then was a generous and loving act. A life giving act. One that leads Paul to say in Philippians 2 that Jesus is exalted and honored because He humbled Himself so that we might experience life.

      Thanks again for your comment. I enjoy the interaction.

      Blessings,
      Casey

  3. Thank you for your follow-up, Casey. I’m curious about your thoughts on a related topic: Where do you stand on determination? Do we have free will? Or does God predestine who is to be saved, and who is to be damned?
    (Often stated as the Jacob vs. Esau quandary in Malachi 1: [from before their birth] “I Loved Jacob, but Esau I Hated”)

    1. Erik,
      I fall into the predestination camp. It is not because I naturally gravitate toward that idea, but because Scripture tells me God does so.

      God chose Abraham. He made a great people out of him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:14 that many are called, but few are chosen (I am preaching on this text this Sunday). Jesus also tells us in John 6:35-40 that the Father has given Him those who are His. Of course, Paul speaks of predestination in Romans 8:29-30 and in Romans 9 he gives an extended argument. Ephesians 2 tells us we are dead until made alive in Christ. There are many more texts to look at.

      The argument I hear most is that it is not fair for God to choose some and not others. For God to predestine some and not others. I respond, “no, it is not fair. It is not fair that God would allow any of us to live. We all deserve God’s wrath. None of us deserve the next breath we take. God, however, in His mercy and grace allows us to live. As well as He calls some who will spend eternity with Him in heaven.”

      Is this a popular idea? No, but I believe it is what Scripture teaches. Popular or not. Whether I understand it fully or not, I have to go with Scripture’s teaching.

      After saying all that, I still believe we are responsible for our own actions. It is clear God hold people responsible for rejecting Him. For not living according to His will. How both of those (free will and predestination) work together, I don’t fully know. I, however, see both in Scripture.

      However, if I have to pigeon-hole myself into one camp over the other, I fall into the Sovereignty of God camp. Hope that answers your question.

      Blessings,
      Casey

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