The Relevance of Jesus' Resurrection

Bible Book: Matthew  28 : 5-6
Subject: Resurrection; Easter

Ben Haden tells the story of a group of four-year-olds who were gathered in a Sunday School class in Chattanooga. The teacher looked at the class and asked: “What special day was last Sunday?” A little four-year-old girl held up her hand and said, “Last Sunday was Palm Sunday.” The teacher exclaimed, “That’s fantastic, that’s wonderful. Now, does anyone know what today is called?” The same little girl held up her hand and said, “Yes, today is Easter Sunday.” Once again the teacher said, “That’s fantastic. Now, does anyone know why we celebrate Easter?” The same little girl responded and said, “We celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from the grave,” and before the teacher could congratulate her, she kept on talking and said, “but if he sees his shadow, he has to go back in for seven weeks.” (From

In a sermon from 1940, the speaker on the old radio program “The Lutheran Hour,” Walter Maier said…

The United States is one of the few countries in which the customary Easter-greetings contain no reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Greek speaking world, for example, Christians address one another in the same Easter salutation that rang through the early church, “Christos anestee!” “Christ is risen!” and with the ancient response, “Aleethoos anestee,” “He is truly risen!” In the Latin church of the first centuries the Easter-greeting was, “Vivit!” “He lives!” and the reply, “Vere Vivit!” “He lives indeed!” In Spanish lands Christians say “Cristo vive!” In Germany believers, no matter to which they may belong, salute one another with exultant joy: “Der Herr ist auferstanden!” and the reply, “Er ist wahrrhaftig auferstanden!” Even in Russia, where Communist slogans have not altogether banished the reverence for God’s truth, loyal followers of Christ meeting their kindred in the faith, say “Christos Voskres!” and receive the reply, “Voistinu Voskres!” All these expressions serve one thought and purpose: they glorify the risen Savior. In our country, however, we say, “Happy Easter!” forgetting that the word “Easter” may have no connection with the open grave and in no way testifies to the resurrection miracle.

Tom Elliff, who is a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a pastor and former Vice President of the International Mission Board wrote on his website on Friday…

This season of the year always reminds me of our 1982 Resurrection Celebration at the Baptist Camp in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Just before sunrise I heard the first line of an African hymn, sung by the ladies on the far side of the camp. Rousing from their sleep, the men responded by singing the second line of the hymn as they begin rolling up their blankets. Back and forth, the music rolled antiphonally across the camp, with each group responding to the other. Then, as the slightest glimmer of the sun appeared on the horizon, the two groups rushed to the center of the camp singing with joy about the resurrection of our Lord. When the singing was finished, the crowd quickly dispersed, running down paths that led to small neighboring villages, shouting at the top of their voices, “He is risen!” Awakened neighbors would come to their doors, responding with “He is risen indeed!” Never before or since, have I experienced a similar joyous outburst of praise as believers witnessed to the resurrection of the Lord. Unfortunately, many people in my community will simply yawn, roll over and go back to sleep this coming Sunday morning. It is almost as if you can hear their collective sighs, “He lives…so what?

From the April 2nd, 2010 blog by Tom Elliff entitled “He Lives…So What?”

Michael Duduit said…

Imagine what the day was like for the disciples—after the cross and before the resurrection. We’re blessed to live on this side of Easter.

(From his Twitter account, April 03, 2010)

We are blessed to live on this side of Christ’s resurrection, and our response should be so much more than “So what?” For you see, the resurrection of Christ from the grave after His death and crucifixion has meaning. It has significance. It is relevant to our lives as believers in our relationship with this risen Christ.

Obviously, it has a supernatural significance. I mean, this goes beyond the ordinary! But it also has a spiritual significance. It has phenomenal implications. But for the child of God, it also has personal implications.

I. The Resurrection Is Relevant To The Lord’s Might

(Romans 1:1-4) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, {2} (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) {3} Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; {4} And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

A. We See This Power At Work In The Life Of The Son

1. On The Human Side, Jesus Came Out Of The Birth Experience As The Seed Of David

(Romans 1:3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Albert Barnes said…

Hence, it happened, that though our Saviour was humble, and poor, and obscure, yet he had that on which no small part of the world have been accustomed so much to pride themselves, an illustrious ancestry. To a Jew there could be scarcely any honor so high as to be descended from the best of their kings; and it shows how little the Lord Jesus esteemed the honors of this world, that he could always evince his deep humility in circumstances where people are usually proud; and that when he spoke of the honors of this world, and told how little they were worth, he was not denouncing what was not within his reach.

He came out of the womb.

2. On The Holy Side, Jesus Came Out Of The Burial Experience As The Son Of The Divine

(Romans 1:4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

MacArthur said…

As Paul goes on to explain, the most conclusive and irrefutable evidence of Jesus’ divine sonship was given with power by the resurrection from the dead (cf. Acts 13:29-33). By that supreme demonstration of His ability to conquer death, a power belonging only to God Himself (the Giver of life), He established beyond all doubt that He was indeed God, the Son.

According to the spirit of holiness is another way of saying “according to the nature and work of the Holy Spirit.” It was the Holy Spirit working in Christ who accomplished Jesus’ resurrection and every other miracle performed by Him or associated with Him. In the incarnation, Jesus Christ was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of holiness.

Immediately after Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, “the heavens were opened, and he [John the Baptist] saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased’ ” (Matthew 3:16-17). All members of the Trinity were eternally equal in every way, but as mentioned above, in the incarnation the Second Person of the Trinity willingly divested Himself of the expression of the fullness of divine glory and the prerogatives of deity. During His humanity on earth He willingly submitted to the will of the Father (cf. John 5:30) and to the power of the Spirit. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him at His baptism was Jesus’ initiation into ministry, a ministry totally controlled and empowered by the Spirit, so much so that Jesus characterized willful rejection of Him as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:24-32).

Here, then, is the Person of the good news. He is fully man (a descendant of David) and fully God (declared to be the Son of God).

He came out of the tomb.

B. We See This Power At Work In The Lives Of The Saints

1. Paul Expressed This Desire For Plentiful Power

Paul said that he was praying for the Ephesian believers that they would know…

(Ephesians 1:19-20) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, {20} Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

exceeding – Greek 5235. huperballo, hoop-er-bal'-lo; from G5228 and G906; to throw beyond the usual mark, i.e. (fig.) to surpass (only act. part. supereminent):--exceeding, excel, pass.

greatness – Greek 3174. megethos, meg'-eth-os; from G3173; magnitude (fig.):--greatness.

power – Greek 1411. dunamis, doo'-nam-is; from G1410; force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself):--ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

2. Paul Expressed This Desire For Personal Power

This was also Paul’s ongoing desire for himself…

(Philippians 3:10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

The tomb is empty so we don’t have to be!

The might that was marked by the resurrection of Christ is manifested in the message.

II. The Resurrection Is Relevant To The Lord’s Message

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; {2} By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. {3} For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; {4} And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

A. Notice How Paul Said This Message Was Proclaimed

(1 Corinthians 15:1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

declare – Greek NT:1107. to make known; to recall to one’s mind, as though what is made known had escaped him. (From Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

C. J. Rolls said, “The declaration of the Resurrection is our brightest assurance; to discredit it is the blackest possible assumption.”

preached – Greek 2097. euaggelizo, yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo ); from G2095 and G32; to announce good news (“evangelize”) espec. the gospel:--declare, bring (declare, show) glad (good) tidings, preach (the gospel).

1. Paul Is Talking About A Discourse That Is Delivered Personally

In verses 1 and 2 he says “I preached unto you.” A. T. Robertson explained this statement saying…

the gospel (euaggelion) which I preached – 1 Corinthians 15:1. “the gospel which I gospelized unto you.”

2. Paul Is Talking About A Discourse That Is Delivered Publicly

(1 Corinthians 15:11) Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

preach – Greek 2784. kerusso, kay-roos'-so; of uncert. affin.; to herald (as a public crier), espec. divine truth (the gospel):--preach (-er), proclaim, publish.

B. Notice How Paul Said This Message Was Pivotal

(1 Corinthians 15:13-17) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: {14} And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. {15} Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. {16} For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: {17} And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1. It Is Central To Our Sermon

(1 Corinthians 15:14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

vain – Greek 2756. kenos, ken-os'; appar. a prim. word; empty (lit. or fig.):--empty, (in) vain.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

Vain. You accepted our proclamation (kerugma), yet it would be utterly void if its central testimony was false. The word translated “then” has a sort of ironic force - “after all,” or “it seems.” The whole argument is at once an argumentum ad hominem and a reductio ad absurdum. Your faith is also vain. For it would be faith in a crucified man, not in the risen Christ.

2. It Is Central To Our Salvation

(1 Corinthians 15:14-15) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. {15} Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

(1 Corinthians 15:17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary said…

Your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:11). The Greek for “vain” here is empty, unreal [kenon]; in 1 Corinthians 15:17 [mataia], it is without use, frustrated. The principal argument of the first preachers of Christianity was, that God had raised Christ from the dead (Acts 1:22; 2:32; 4:10,33; 13:37; Romans 1:4). If this were false, the faith built on it must be false too.

So this message is not just a triumphant message; it is a transformational message.

III. The Resurrection Is Relevant To The Lord’s Miracle

A. His Resurrection Conquers Our Former State Of Death

Romans 6:1–13

(Romans 6:4-5) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Barnes said…

[In newness of life] T his is a Hebraism to denote new life. We should rise with Christ to a new life; and having been made dead to sin, as he was dead in the grave, so should we rise to a holy life, as he rose from the grave. The argument in this verse is, therefore, drawn from the nature of the Christian profession. By our very baptism, by our very profession, we have become dead to sin, as Christ became dead; and being devoted to him by that baptism, we are bound to rise, as he did, to a new life.

He got up so I could get in!

B. His Resurrection Conquers Our Future State Of Death

In discussing the reality of the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul goes on to say…

(1 Corinthians 15:51-57) Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. {54} So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. {55} O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. {57} But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider also Paul’s statement….

(Romans 8:11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

The Pulpit Commentary said of Romans 8:11…

The idea is that, though in our present earthly state the mortal body is death-stricken in consequence of sin – subject to the doom of Adam, that extended to all his race (cf. Romans 5:12, etc.) – yet, Christ being in us now, the same Divine Spirit that raised him from the dead will in us too at last overcome mortality. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (‎zoopoieo, the same word as “quicken” in verse 11 here); and compare also all that follows in that chapter. … The frail, mortal, ever-dying earthen vessels, in which we have now the treasure of our life in Christ, are there regarded as crippling the expansion of our spiritual life, and causing us to “groan, being burdened” (cf. in the chapter before us, ver. 23; but the very consciousness of this higher life within him, yearning so for an adequate and deathless organism, assures the apostle that God has one in store for him, having already given him “the earnest of the Spirit.” And this seems to be what is meant hereby “shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

When Philip Doddridge wrote the great hymn, “O Happy Day That Fixed My Choice” in the early 1700’s, he wrote…

‘Tis done—the great transaction's done; I am my Lord's, and He is mine

But how was the transaction completed? How was our standing before a Holy God changed? The risen Christ was not just the shower of might and the subject of the message, but the risen Christ was the source of our mediation.

IV. The Resurrection Is Relevant To The Lord’s Mediation

A. The Risen Christ Is A Mediator For Sinners

Craig S. Keener wrote…

In Judaism … Moses was thought to have mediated divine revelation, but it was ultimately effective only for Israel, not for the Gentiles. Most Gentiles believed in many mediators of revelation, just as they believed in many gods. (From the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament)

But Paul said…

(1 Timothy 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

mediator – Greek 3316. mesites, mes-ee'-tace; from G3319; a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by impl.) a reconciler (intercessor):--mediator.

What was the outcome of this case in which Jesus was our mediator, our go-between? Paul said…

(Romans 4:21-25) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. {22} And therefore it was imputed to him (Abraham) for righteousness. {23} Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; {24} But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; {25} Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

justification – Greek 1347. dikaiosis, dik-ah'-yo-sis; from G1344 (to render just, free, innocent, righteous); acquittal (exonerated, freed, released – for Christ's sake):--justification.

John Calvin wrote…

As it would not have been enough for Christ to undergo the wrath and judgment of God, and to endure the curse due to our sins, without his coming forth a conqueror, and without being received into celestial glory, that by his intercession he might reconcile God to us, the efficacy of justification is ascribed to his resurrection, by which death was overcome; not that the sacrifice of the cross, by which we are reconciled to God, contributes nothing towards our justification, but that the completeness of his favor appears more clear by his coming to life again.

Christ was crucified; God was satisfied; I am justified … because Christ was resurrected!

The King died for my crime; then the King rose again to certify to the great Judge of heaven and earth that I had been exonerated and acquitted. But then the King (because He lives) was able to give me sanctuary and protection in His kingdom. As Paul said…

(Romans 5:8-10) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. {10} For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says of the word “reconciled” (NT:2644) that it…

Denotes a transformation of the state between God and us and therewith of our own state, for by it we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:18), no longer ungodly or sinners, but justified, with God’s love shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:6). God has not changed; the change is in our relation to him and consequently in our whole lives.

Strong’s Concordance says…

saved – Greek 4982. sozo, sode'-zo; from a prim. sos (contr. for obsol. saos, "safe"); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (lit. or fig.):--heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.

Is that type of intervention still possible or is it reserved for a former time? The writer of Hebrews said that it is still possible, and not just to be partially saved as if, over time, this salvation would have lost its potency; No! he says…

(Hebrews 7:25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

uttermost – Greek 3838. panteles, pan-tel-ace'; from G3956 and G5056; full-ended, i.e. entire (completion).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “intercession” (NT:1793) means…

To go to or meet a person, especially for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication … for the purpose of consulting about a person,

‎W. E. Vine adds that it primarily means…

“To fall in with, meet with in order to converse;” then, “to make petition,” especially “to make intercession, plead with a person,” either for or against others.

B. The Risen Christ Is A Mediator For Saints

Now that we have been exonerated, what if we are accused again? Paul said…

(Romans 8:33-34) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. {34} Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession (same word as in Hebrews 7:25) for us.

The same way that He made petition for us before God when we were lost, He still makes petition for us now that we are saved. If the accuser of the brethren asserts that I am no longer saved, my advocate reminds the great Judge that I have been justified!

The apostle John adds…

(1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

advocate – Greek 3875. parakletos, par-ak'-lay-tos; an intercessor, consoler:--advocate, comforter.

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says that the “advocate” was…

One who pleads the cause of another; also one who exhorts, defends, comforts, prays for another. It is an appellation given to the Holy Spirit by Christ (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7) [See Comforter] and to Christ himself by an apostle (1 John 2:1; see also Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). In the forensic sense, advocates or pleaders were not known to the Jews until they came under the dominion of the Romans, and were obliged to transact their law affairs after the Roman manner. Being then little conversant with the Roman laws and with the forms of the jurists, it was necessary for them, in pleading a cause before the Roman magistrates, to obtain the assistance of a Roman lawyer or advocate who was well versed in the Greek and Latin languages.

We have a living Lawyer who pleads our case before the Judge of heaven and earth!

V. The Resurrection Is Relevant To The Lord’s Mastery

Romans 14:5–11

A. Notice The Emphasis Of His Resurrection

(Romans 14:9) For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Some commentaries and resources suggest that the second word, “revived,” is not in the original, that it has been added at some point to the genuine text. But I like the double emphasis; it suggests that Christ not only got up, but He will stay up (He lives forevermore, Revelation 1:18).

rose – Greek 450. anistemi, an-is'-tay-mee; from G303 and G2476; to stand up (lit. or fig., trans. or intrans.):--arise, lift up, raise up (again), rise (again), stand up (-right).

revived – Greek 326. anazao, an-ad-zah'-o; from G303 and G2198; to recover life (lit. or fig.):--(be a-) live again, revive.

B. Notice The Effect Of His Resurrection

(Romans 14:9) For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

John Calvin wrote…

This is a confirmation of the reason which has been last mentioned; for in order to prove that we ought to live and to die to the Lord, he had said, that whether we live or die we are under the power of Christ. He now shows how rightly Christ claims this power over us, since he has obtained it by so great a price; for by undergoing death for our salvation, he has acquired authority over us which cannot be destroyed by death, and by rising again, he has received our whole life as his peculiar property. He has then by his death and resurrection deserved that we should, in death as well as in life, advance the glory of his name. The words arose and lived again mean, that by resurrection he attained a new state of life; and that as the life which he now possesses is subject to no change, his dominion over us is to be eternal.


I want to introduce you to an Old Testament personality named Ittai the Gittite. His name means “against,” but we learn that he was “for” King David.

2 Samuel 15:19-23

David was betrayed by one of his own (Absalom), just as Jesus was betrayed by one of His own (Judas).

David went outside the camp and crossed over the brook Kidron (2 Samuel 15:23), and Jesus went outside the camp and crossed over the brook Cedron (John 18:1).

David then ascended Olivet in sorrow (2 Samuel 15:30); and Jesus also came to the Mount of Olives into the garden of Gethsemane in sorrow (Luke 22:39).

One of David’s betrayer’s hung himself and the chief betrayer hung in an oak tree (2 Samuel 17:23, 18:10); and Judas the betrayer of Jesus hung himself (Matthew 27:5).

David’s battle was settled at a tree (2 Samuel 18:10); and Jesus’ battle was also settled at a tree. There was one man who was both a “stranger” (a foreigner) and an “exile” (one in disgrace)…

(2 Samuel 15:19) Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.

But this man said, if I live or if I die, my allegiance is to the King.

(2 Samuel 15:21) And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.

Paul expressed his allegiance to the King like this…

(Romans 14:8) For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

Norman Clayton wrote…

Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me,

Not for the years of time alone, But for eternity (Because He “ever liveth”).