The Resurrection is good News because it tells us that we are not alone
Most of us find ourselves faced with two competing alternatives
This is driven by fear of the unknown and the unexplained. It leads to attempts to control the unknown through ritual. We might believe in spiritual forces but these are to be feared and appeased. We also believe that somehow we can exercise power over the spiritual world through rituals. Spirits can also be manipulated and controlled.
This works from the premise that there is nothing else, just us. We are here by chance. We are the accidental by-product of selfish genes mutating in a bid for survival. This can be seen also as a reaction to superstition. To It has sometimes been referred to as the disenchantment of nature. We are able to explain more things but the world loses its magic.
But actually both options leave us alone in the Universe. Threatened by hostile forces, in survival mode.
Both leave us fearing death. Death is the end, death is unknown, death has the final word.
The Resurrection tells us that we are not alone
There is a God -he is the one who raised Jesus from the Dead (1 Cor 15:15-21)
And so Death does not have the last word (1 Cor 15:22)
The Resurrection is good news because it tells us that we are forgiven
1 Cor 15:17 –“If Christ has not been risen you are still in your sins.” –Paul sees this as vital
What is sin and why is it so deadly?
Isn’t this part of the superstition we’ve escaped from – the idea of an angry God out there to punish us? A lot of people have therefore rejected the concept of sin and punishment. But we cannot avoid the reality of evil. We see this in the world around us, on the big stage as Russia seeks to crush Ukraine and unfurls brutal horrors. We see it up close in the pain and suffering we cause each other in our own homes.
We have to admit that death is not about an irrationally angry God arbitrarily punishing us. Rather, God’s judgement is justice and indeed, the penalty is a logical consequence of the evil we do.
Death as the just punishment
Sometimes people use the example of a clean sheet of paper spoilt by a mark . This sounds ridiculous. God nit-picks and finds the smallest fault. A better example might be of the computer virus scan. We discover that sin has infected and corrupted our whole lives. God’s punishment is not nit-picking with minor misdemeanours but the proportionate and natural response to the horror of evil.
The penalty is death but the Easter message is that Jesus dealt with sin on the Cross. Jesus received the punishment we deserved. This means that we do not have to pay the penalty ourselves. That’s at the very heart of forgiveness. When you are forgiven then you are released from any debt owing, any consequences arising. Because Jesus stood in our place, God no longer looks at us as shamed and guilty. In Romans 4:1-8, Paul links forgiveness to justification. We are made right with God. It is just as if I’d kept God’s law perfectly.
The proof is that God has raised Jesus. Justification therefore is linked to resurrection. We may refer to Easter Day as Christ’s vindication day. We see that death is defeated. We see that the penalty is acceptable and so we no longer need to fear it.
The Resurrection is good news because it offers hope
Death does not have the last word on your life. The Resurrection of Jesus shows us that there will be life after death. For Christians this is not just about our spirits living on after we die. A Resurrection Day is coming. We have the promise that Jesus will return and all of those who died knowing him will be raised physically to new creation life. There is the warning too that those who did not trust Jesus will be raised to judgement and eternity in hell.
The Resurrection is good news for those who have put their trust in Jesus. It means we are part of God’s family, no longer alone. It means that there is now no condemnation. We are forgiven. It means that death does not have the last word. We have sure and certain hope.