After celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we are left with messages of love, grace and hope. The resurrection accounts are significant in revealing the hope we have for ourselves and the world.
After Jesus is resurrected, the people he appears to have a delayed recognition. Mary Magdalene thinks he is the gardener (John 20:15), seven disciples think he is a regular man on the shore (John 21:4), men going to Emmaus “were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16) and the disciples are startled because they “thought they saw a spirit” (Luke 24:37).
Something is new and different about Jesus that causes even the people who were closest to him to struggle with immediately recognizing him, and the occurrence symbolizes much more than we might think.
Paul explains how the resurrection body is different because “what is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” (1 Corinthians 15:42-43).
Jesus is revitalized with an imperishable body raised in glory and power, and our story is intertwined beautifully with his. Jesus tells us he plans on “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Just as Jesus experiences a renewal, revitalization and rebirth, our ultimate hope is in the resurrection of ourselves and the world.
The Easter message is so hopeful and powerful because it is our message too. God will do for us, who are in Christ, and the world what He did for Jesus—renew, revitalize and rebirth.
After God renews all of creation, He “will be with [us] as [our] God” (Revelation 21:3). Just as our mourning vanished when Jesus conquered death, God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
We do not merely believe in Jesus so we can avoid hell. We trust in Christ so we can be presented as “blameless before the presence of [God’s] glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24). It is only through Christ’s sacrifice that we could ever be considered blameless and have any hope of dwelling in the presence of God again in the new heaven and new earth.
Christ’s resurrection is significant because his defeat of sin and death is a reminder of what God will one day do for us and all of creation who are in Christ Jesus.
“‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57