To non-Christians it might be a point of confusion that Christians focus so much and celebrate weekly the cross and death of Jesus Christ. The cruel and unjust crucifixion of the Son of God seems like a really bad reason to celebrate—unless you factor in His resurrection.
Prophecies about the Christ foretold that after He suffered, He’d be resurrected: (Psalms 16:9, 10) “Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” Indeed, His resurrection is one of the most powerful proofs of Jesus’ identity as the Christ, the Son of God.
He was raised by the Holy Spirit, who will also raise us on the last day: (Romans 8:11) “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
And His resurrection was not like other resurrections to be found in the Bible. Those resurrections (e.g., Lazarus) were resurrections back to an earthly body, destined to die again. Christ’s resurrection was different: (Romans 6:9) “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.” His was a spiritual or heavenly body (see 1 Cor. 15:44-49).
The details regarding what this body was like are not complete (1 John 3:2)—we probably couldn’t understand it, if we had them all—but we do know a few things. His spiritual body could be touched, seen, and heard (1 John 1:1-3); and His resurrection body could eat (John 21:12,15). But His resurrection body could also appear and disappear from a locked room. He seems to be able to alter His appearance (e.g., Luke 24:30,31).
How is this important? Two ways.
First, because His resurrection proves that what happened on the cross was effective in saving us from sin; His was no ordinary death. Paul tells us, (Romans 4:25) “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” We know we have forgiveness, a new covenant, and the hope of Heaven, because of Christ’s resurrection.
Second, His resurrection reassures us that death is not the end of life; and we even get a little peek at what our own resurrection bodies will be like. The apostle John tells us (1 John 3:2) “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” Indeed, Jesus is called the “…first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
What great hope and great assurance we have in this super-significant aspect of what the Bible teaches about the Christ!
But the Christ also ascended—before the very eyes of the apostles on the Mount of Olives—and He now sits at the right hand of God’s throne (Eph. 1:20), reigning over the kingdom of heaven (1 Tim. 1:17), serving as the eternal high priest for us according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 4:14), has offered His own blood in the true Holy of Holies (Heb. 10:11,12), interceding for us (Rom. 8:34), and awaiting the Father’s word on the Last Day (Matt. 24:36).
And here is blessed assurance! God’s people have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1), gaining our forgiveness through His own blood, conveying our prayers as the only begotten Son.