God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. - Acts 2:32
Christianity would not be Christianity without the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, the Christian faith was vindicated and validated via the central and foundational event we call the Resurrection. Luke the Physician records for us the grand speech of the apostle Peter in Acts chapter two. Leading up to this verse Peter compares and contrasts the life of King David with that of Jesus, noting that a man as great as King David lived his life, died, and he stayed dead. Jesus, however, is an entirely different story and, you might say, He is an entirely different King. Again, King David stayed dead; King Jesus did not.
It is hard to underscore enough just how important this Easter event truly was, and sadly for many believers, we simply do not appreciate its significance. The apostle Paul even had to remind believers in Corinth of its centrality to our faith: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. And if Christ has not been raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins . . . [and] we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17-18 NIV; emphasis added). Paul realized two very important things: (1) If Jesus’ resurrection were not based in historical fact, their whole mission would be pointless and in vain. Even worse, they would have been played the fool. (2) Something vitally significant hangs upon the resurrection spiritually, for it is God’s chosen means by which all believers are guaranteed newness of life in the Age to Come. Resurrection completes the sequence necessary for a full-orbed, complete salvation. Jesus’ act of Atonement on the cross covers over all our sins; the act of the Resurrection of Jesus’ body becomes for us, to use Paul’s own words, the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20) and the guarantee for all believers’ future, imperishable, glorified resurrection bodies (vv. 42-43).
Peter’s pronouncement of the historicity of the resurrection can be seen as act of courage, but as he states, “we are all witnesses of it.” What else could he do? He saw it with his own eyes. It would certainly take a real-life witnessing of this event to convince ordinary men and women that Jesus, the Messiah, was indeed God in flesh. It would take something as monumental as seeing a person alive after being brutally massacred and murdered, to inspire followers to offer up their lives in order to proclaim this message: “God has raised this Jesus to life.”
Word for the Way:
The Church’s universal cry “He Is Risen!” is the bedrock claim of our Faith.