“We believe in the resurrection of the body.” This has been the key Christian confession from the very beginning. The resurrection of Jesus changed everything.
The first disciples transitioned from hiding due to fear of death to boldly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, whom they had encountered after He rose from the dead. Very few Old Testament passages seem to say anything hopeful or positive about death. Yet, the smaller New Testament does not shy away from speaking of death as a defeated foe because of the hope that Christ’s resurrection brings.
At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul faces the reality of his coming execution with words of victory: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
These are not the words of one defeated by death, but rather of one who, by faith in the resurrected Lord, recognizes that death itself has ultimately been defeated!
In this issue of Holiness Today, representatives from various fields of study have provided short reflections on the power and influence of the resurrection. We pray that these reflections will serve as devotional reminders throughout Lent and Easter of how crucial the resurrection of Jesus is to our testimony and our daily lives as Christians. As Paul again reminds, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:19-20)!
May our hearts be filled with the power and promise of resurrection as we share the good news of the defeat of darkness, and may the following reflections provide opportunities to share your own stories of resurrection to those who need deliverance from death into eternal life.
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Holiness Today, Mar/Apr 2018.
Click the links below to read various articles from the Mar/Apr 2018 issue of Holiness Today:
Resurrection in the Old Testament and Early Jewish Thought - William H. Malas, Jr.
Resurrection in the Gospel of Mark - Mark Mann
Someday Resurrection - Shawna Songer Gaines
Embracing Death and Resurrection: The Tension of Discipleship - Doug Van Nest
Vulnerability, Failure, and Resurrection - Jacob Lett
Resurrection and Communion - Jim Fitzgerald
Raised From the Dead to Make Breakfast - Mark Quanstrom
Death Before Resurrection: The Gift of the Holy Triduum - Brent Peterson
Faith Over Fear - Lisa Brown
Resurrection of the Body - Ruthie I. Cordova