There have been many famous deaths in world history. Notable deaths include John F. Kennedy, Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra or the Christian martyr, John Huss, but we do not refer to "the assassination," "the guillotining," "the poisoning or “the burning." Such references would be incomprehensible.
The use of the term "the crucifixion" as it pertains to the death of Jesus, even in this secular age is significant. Christ’s death by execution continues to have universal reverberations. No other death in human history has had a similar impact. The cross of Jesus stands alone in this regard. There were many thousands of crucifixions in Roman times, but only the crucifixion of Jesus is remembered as having any significance at all, let alone world-transforming significance. On Good Friday this month, we will celebrate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and like the Apostle Paul, we can say, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).
Three days later, on Easter, we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection speaks to our needs as does no other event in history. Harvard Law Professor, Dr. Simon Greenleaf said, “According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.” The late Dr. Billy Graham also pointed out that, “There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.”
Certainly, the early Christians were convinced of the Jesus’ resurrection. They knew not only that it had taken place, but that it was an event of enormous significance. They were not hallucinating! Lee Strobel, author of, A Case for Christ, summed it up like this, “I went to a psychologist friend and said if 500 people claimed to see Jesus after he died, it was just a hallucination. He said hallucinations are an individual event. If 500 people have the same hallucination, that’s a bigger miracle than the resurrection.”
So central was the resurrection of Jesus Christ to their message that in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke describes Peter and John as "preaching Jesus and the resurrection." And it was the same with Paul when he wrote, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles” (1Cor. 15:3-8).
So, the resurrection of Jesus is at the very core of the Christian Good News. The words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ offers hope to our world. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (Jn. 11:25-26)?”
This hope is for all who will believe in Jesus. Jesus simply asks us to place our faith and trust in Him. We don’t have to do this blindly, we can do this with confidence because He lives! Remember the entire plan for the future of our world has its key in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you as you contemplate the meaning of the death and resurrection of the greatest Person who ever lived–Jesus the resurrected Christ!