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Don’t Cross Out the Resurrection!

April 12, 2017

This month we celebrate Easter, and for good reason: without Easter, there would be no church. So it’s not surprising that Satan’s attacks on the Gospel have focused quite heavily on Easter.

The Easter weekend has two focal points: the cross and the empty tomb. And both of those have come under constant attack ever since the apostles first started proclaiming the arrival, death and resurrection of the Messiah.

The cross was “foolishness” from the very beginning: surely the true Messiah should be able to avoid such a fate? In fact, Islam still insists that it wasn’t actually Jesus who was crucified!

In more recent days, some people have tried to change the significance of the cross. Instead of Jesus taking on himself the righteous punishment for our sins, the cross simply becomes a symbol of God’s great love for us; it doesn’t actually change anything…

It’s of course true that the cross is a sign of God’s love for us – but if it didn’t actually achieve anything, how does it show God’s love? But if the cross is God’s way of dealing with the problem of sin (he has to judge sin, but chooses to take the judgment on himself rather than punishing us) then the cross does indeed demonstrate God’s love!

Then, our joyful proclamation of resurrection has been subject to equally misguided attempts at “correction”. The most common one is of course that Jesus didn’t rise at all, because “dead people stay dead”. Well, we know that; that’s why we call it a miracle!

A more sinister error, however, is the idea that Jesus only rose “spiritually”: his body decayed, but his spirit appeared to the disciples, encouraging them to keep propagating his teachings. This is more or less what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, but sadly the same falsehood can be heard in mainstream churches as well.

The problem is that a) this isn’t what the NT describes, and b) this would mean Jesus actually failed. He kept predicting that he would rise, and by doing so he would defeat death once and for all. If he didn’t actually exit bodily from that tomb, he didn’t succeed, and we should close all churches: as Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile”.

However, the Son of God didn’t fail in his mission. The tomb was indeed empty. Jesus died to take the penalty for our sins, and he rose again to guarantee our redemption and eternal life with God. Don’t let anyone try and tell you otherwise!




From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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