If you've grown up in the church, you've heard it a hundred times: Christ died on the cross and rose again; without Christ's death and resurrection, there would be no salvation. But what does it all really mean? The death and resurrection are always spoken of together, but rarely is it broken down into what each part actually means.
Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead after he died? Why was the resurrection significant? Sometimes, it seems like more emphasis is put on the death with the resurrection just tacked on as an afterthought.
The truth of the matter is that if Christ only died, but never came back to life, there would be no chance of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:14). If He didn't rise again, everything He said about being God, about being the Father's Son, would have been a lie, and His death would be nothing more than the death of a liar.
But because He IS God, because He DID rise again, we know for sure that everything He said is true, and He has the authority to pay the penalty for our sins before God and grant us salvation.
Romans 6:23a tells us that "the wages of sin are death." Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Every person has sinned, and since God is a God of justice, for every crime there must be punishment. For every person that has sinned, a life must be given in payment for that crime.
Jesus Christ was fully Man and fully God (John 10:30; John 1:14). Jesus Christ never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). Yet, despite this, Jesus paid for a crime he never committed and died a sinner's death—but not His sin for He had none, but our sin because we can hardly help ourselves (1 John 2:2). He did die; He did suffer the wrath of God (Romans 5:6-11). But because He was sinless, death could not hold Him down.
This is where the Christian faith hinges. Without belief in the resurrection, our faith means nothing (1 Corinthians 15). If we believe Jesus was resurrected, then we accept that He is God—that He is able to take on our sin in our place so that we can be free. No other religion was founded by a Person who died then truly came back to life, promising that His followers would do the same.
Christ's Resurrection shows us that He conquered sin and conquered death. It shows us that He is, indeed, the Son of God who "takes away the sin of world!" (John 1:29) Christ's Resurrection proves that when we ask to be saved through Jesus Christ, and His blood does cover us, we are sinless before God because the blood needed to pay for our crime has already been spilled.
Now, because death could not hold Christ, death cannot hold us (1 Corinthians 15:49). Because death could not hold Christ, and we are under Christ, we now have "the free gift of God" that "is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23b).
God accepted Jesus' sacrifice on YOUR behalf. If you believe in Christ, you will not stay dead at the end of your physical life, but you will be resurrected into an eternal life with God. Now, that's something to hope for!
If Christ only died, but never came back to life, there would be no chance of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:14) for His death would be nothing more than the death of a liar. But because He IS God and DID rise again, this proves He told the truth. Every person has sinned (Romans 6:23; Romans 3:23), and since God is a God of justice, for every crime there must be punishment. Jesus never sinned (1 Peter 2:22), yet He died a sinner's death for YOU (1 John 2:2), suffered God's wrath for YOU (Romans 5:6-11), taking the punishment for YOUR sin. But because He never sinned, He couldn't be condemned to eternal death for it—like we would be. And because He is God, He resurrect Himself. The very fact that Jesus was resurrected proves His promises to be true.
September is an avid film nerd from growing up on weekend trips to Universal Studios Hollywood. She is passionate about the intersections of Christian spirituality, faith, and storytelling in popular culture. Outside of 412teens and digging up obscure horror flicks from the 2000s, she works as a freelance developmental editor and acquisitions consultant while comforting her clingy feline floof, Faust, from the anxiety of existence.