Risen from the Dead
Easter is a Christian holiday set aside on one Sunday during late March to early April. It is observed to call Christians to remembrance of the resurrection. Christians have typically worshiped on Sunday since it is believed that Christ rose on Sunday. Thus each week Christ’s resurrection is remembered (or should be).
Paul, in his letter to Timothy, writes “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8). This is in essence what each Sunday Christians should do whether in implication or explication. The question then is “Why must we remember the resurrection?”
Paul instructs Timothy to do this in order that he will be encouraged to keep the faith. It was during this time that Christians were being persecuted unto death for their faith. In fact, Paul was in a dark prison in Rome awaiting his own death. All but one of his friends abandoned him. He was secluded and treated as a criminal.
Timothy was miles away in Ephesus. He had not yet felt the wind of persecution, but would soon. So Paul tells him to “remember Jesus Christ.” And in specific, “remember two things about Jesus Christ: He has risen from the dead and He is a descendant of David.”
These two points that we must remember about Christ refer to his deity and his human nature. Since He resurrected, He is declared as the true Son of God. His words and deeds are affirmed. Since He is the seed of David, He is declared as a real human person. That is to say that He did in fact exist. The incarnation was not a spiritualistic event. It really happened.
The word remember in Greek (mnemoneue) is a command to “be mindful” in an ongoing sense. It is not a call to remember only once, but to keep in remembrance. This must be an important thing to meditate if it calls for consistent and persistent remembrance!
In addition, Paul adds “according to my gospel.” This was not a gospel different from that of Jesus. Rather it was the gospel of Jesus that Paul preached. Thus, Paul connects Jesus to the gospel implying that any distortion of the resurrection truth is a distortion of the gospel of Christianity. In fact, he notes that Hymenaeus and Philetus were ones who denied the resurrection and therefore, were removed from the faith.
So the importance of the resurrection exceeds even the unity of believers. It is the highest truth of the Bible. It is the ground by which the Christian faith falls or stands. If the resurrection is untrue then Christianity is also untrue and no one can be saved from their sins.
Paul reasons it this way in his letter to the Christians in Corinth:
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for th is life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
In essence, the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. To not believe it, is to not be saved. For if it did not happen, then the Christ is no savior. It essentially affirms the Word of God. All that Christ has said and done would have been in vain had He not resurrected.