Save Jesus? Ignore Easter?
A Washington Post article, titled “Save Jesus, Ignore Easter,” says Christians focus too much on the death and resurrection of Jesus and that we need to focus more on his ethical teachings.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! If we take Jesus solely as a good example with some wise teachings, then we will be left with arrogance and pride or despair and hopelessness. We can never attain to the sinless example of Christ or his teachings: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Good luck living up to that impossible ethical teaching.
We should by all means want to be like Jesus, but without the cross and resurrection, we have no way, hope, or means. This is death by law. Praise God, we aren’t left to our own devices or efforts to imitate him. Thank God for the gospel!
There is a reason Christians focus on the death and resurrection. If it happened, then it is the most important miracle ever with huge implications for everyone. This is why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Jesus was really dead. He was beaten and scourged. Many people died just from the scourging. And then he was nailed to a cross with three spikes that were 7–9 inches long and a half-inch thick. And to make sure he was dead, they speared him in the side to pierce both his lung and heart. He died the death we should have died. He died in our place for our sin.
Jesus Was Buried
Jesus was also buried and everyone involved knew where. The tomb was sealed with a Roman seal and guarded so nobody would mess with it. The chief priests, disciples, and followers of Jesus all knew where it as. It was under Roman guard. His body wasn’t misplaced; it was in a tomb for three days.
Jesus Rose from the Dead
Jesus rose from the dead. He showed up to his disciples and followers and then to over 500 people who saw him (1 Cor. 15:6). His disciples didn’t steal his body and promote a hoax they claimed to be true and for which they would all later be killed violently. He didn’t pass out on the cross, resuscitate later in the tomb, tear off the 75 pounds of linen burial cloths, push back an enormous stone by himself, and then overpower armed guards. His resurrection proved his victory over sin and death and ensures believers’ regeneration (1 Pet 1:3-5), justification (Rom 4:25), and future resurrection (1 Cor 6:14).
Praise God, we aren’t left to our own devices or efforts to imitate him. Thank God for the gospel!
What Billions of Christians Have Always Believed
The Apostles’ Creed, the oldest and most popular creed of the church, summarizes 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 and states, “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried…On the third day He arose again from the dead.”
This is what billions of Christian have always believed and what over 1 billion Christians will celebrate this Easter. There are good reasons for believing it and no good reasons not to believe it.
The evidence confirms that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is unique in all of history and worthy of all to be believed. It was a literal, bodily resurrection. That’s why we do not “save Jesus” and preach law without gospel. He saves us. That’s why we cannot “ignore Easter.”