Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
What Can We Learn From the Resurrection of Jesus?
Easter or Resurrection Sunday comes every year following the forty days of Lent. It is the following Sunday after Palm Sunday and the end of Holy Week. The day Jesus was resurrected from the dead is proof that He is the Son of God whose mission was to redeem people from their sins. In order to do that, He had to die on the cross and rise from the dead three days later to fulfill the Scriptures.
The resurrection of Jesus sets Christianity apart from all other world religions. Christianity is the only religion where its leader died and was raised from the dead and still lives in the heart of followers.
Preachers preach and Bible teachers teach about what happened on the holiest day of the Christian year. However, sometimes there are many lessons that are left unsaid.
Lesson 1. The Reality of the Resurrection
In order to learn the lessons about the resurrection, people must first believe that it actually happened. All four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote that Jesus was crucified on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day just as He said He would.
The resurrection was the theme of the apostles’ preaching. According to Acts 4:33, “with great power, the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” For example, Peter preached the first gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost focusing on the resurrection (Acts 2:23-24).
Paul gave a detailed explanation of the resurrection in the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, he clearly stated that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Lesson 2: Salvation
Jesus' death on the cross was important, but our salvation is based on our belief that Jesus died and God raised Him from the dead on the third day. Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
In other words, you cannot just believe only the crucifixion. You must also believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. That's why when preaching and teaching about Jesus' death, He should never be left on the cross or in the grave because "the cross is bare and the grave is empty."
The resurrection was God's divine plan for our redemption. Salvation is to be found in a personal relationship with a living Jesus who did not stay in the grave but was raised from the dead. If you believe that, then you are saved.
Lesson 3: Assurance
Those who have faith find it easy to understand the resurrection. They also have the assurance that because Jesus was resurrected from the dead, they will also be resurrected from the dead.
According to 1 Corinthians 15:20, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." That means there is an assurance that death no longer has a sting and the grave has no victory. Jesus' death and resurrection took care of that, according to 1 Corinthians 14:55-57. Therefore, Christians should not fear death because they will be resurrected from the dead just as Jesus was resurrected.
Lesson 4: Scriptures Were Fulfilled
Everything about Jesus' life had been prophesied and recorded in the Scriptures, especially in the Old Testament. The major prophet Isaiah foretold His birth. Some of the other prophets also prophesied about the coming Messiah.
Jesus even predicted His own death and His own resurrection. Jesus said He would die and be raised from the dead in three days. Many times Jesus told His disciples precisely what would happen. Because Jesus fulfilled His promise about His own death and resurrection, we can be sure that Jesus will keep other promises too.
The Scriptures were fulfilled when Jesus was crucified on the cross. Some of the seven last expressions Jesus made on the cross were what had been recorded in the Old Testament.
Jesus cried out on the cross, "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It is a quote from Psalm 22:2.
It was a custom for the legs to be broken to speed up the death of those on the cross. When the soldiers went to break the legs of Jesus, He was already dead so the scriptures could be fulfilled that none of His bones be broken (John 19:33-36).
Lesson 5: Validation of Jesus
Jesus' redemptive death on the cross should be validation enough, but Paul points out more in Romans 1:4 that "Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.”
In other words, His suffering on the cross proved Jesus was fully human. This was truly proven when He said, "I thirst" (John 19:28). The resurrection from the dead validates that Jesus was God. Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.
Lesson 6: Powerful Evidence
Perhaps one of the greatest proofs of the resurrection can be seen in the transformation of Jesus' disciples. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, the boldness of His disciples was raised to a much higher degree.
- Doubting Thomas was convinced that Jesus was resurrected after he touched the nail prints in Jesus' hands and the hole in His side.
- Within 50 days of His crucifixion, Jesus' disciples had been miraculously transformed from men of little faith into bold men who turned the world upside down, according to the Acts of the Apostles.
- Jesus’ own brother, James did not believe in Him while He was alive. James became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. There is a general epistle in the Bible that bears his name. The same is for the general epistle of Jude, also written by Jesus' brother.
- Peter, who denied Jesus three times at His crucifixion proclaimed Him boldly on the Day of Pentecost. He also stood before the Sanhedrin Council that had condemned Jesus to death (Acts 4:1-12).
- Stephen was stoned to death and became the first martyr for speaking about Jesus (Acts 7:51-60).
- Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Christians for their belief in Jesus, but after he met the risen Lord on the Damascus Road, he was totally convinced of Jesus' resurrection (Acts 9:1-9). He dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the gospel and teaching about Jesus Christ. He wrote 13 books of the New Testament. He is considered to be the greatest missionary in the history of the church.
- Mary Magdalene saw Jesus in the garden after His resurrection.
- Jesus walked with two disciples on the Emmaus Road after He rose from the dead.
- Jesus appeared before over 500 people after His resurrection before His ascension.
- Jesus ate with His disciples in the upper room. At another time, He ate fish with His disciples on the beach after He taught them how to catch fish.
Lesson 7: The Christian Witness
The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian witness to the world. While Jesus was alive on earth, He was accessible only to those in His midst. He had to die and be raised from the dead so He could be in the heart of every believer.
Everyone who believes the resurrection of Jesus Christ took place can say with certainty, "He is risen."