What do you think is the most important event in human history? There are so many opinions on this subject, and many different incidents have had a tremendous influence on the course of humanity. However, there is one event in history that is unparalleled in its effect upon the world, and that was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing like this had happened before nor has anything equaled it since.
When Jesus rose from the grave, the impact was felt immediately and has continued to reverberate throughout the world. Although people had previously been raised from the dead by God’s power, they all eventually died once more, but Jesus was raised immortal, never to die again because He was not just a man but God in human flesh. When He overcame death, the world was affected in a variety of ways.
First, the physical world was shaken by His resurrection. An earthquake occurred at Jesus’ death when the rocks were split and again at His resurrection as an angel descended from heaven to roll away the stone and reveal an empty tomb (Matt. 27:50-51, Matt. 28:2). Although these geological disturbances are long past, there will be a day when the resurrected Christ returns to stand on the Mount of Olives, and it will be split in the middle by an earthquake (Zech. 14:4).
When Jesus rose from the grave, the impact was felt immediately and has continued to reverberate throughout the world.
Second, Christ’s resurrection shook the religious world. The shaking began with His death on the cross when He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil in the temple that separated God from the people was torn in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). The way was now opened for mankind to draw near to God through His Son. Jesus’ death made forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God possible for all who believe in Him. In addition, animal sacrifices were no longer required for forgiveness of sins because Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God who died once for the sins of the world (John 1:29). His resurrection proved that His sacrifice was accepted by the Father as full payment for the sins of those who would believe in Him.
The resurrection’s impact continued after Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand. A few days later, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within His followers, empowering them to boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior (Acts 2:1-4). Christianity exploded as multitudes of people believed the message. Even many of the priests who’d once served in the temple were convinced that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah and Savior (Acts 6:7).
However, Christ’s resurrection also brought about religious persecution for the growing church. The Jewish leaders vigorously opposed this new religion and tried to stop it, but the persecution only led to the growth of Christianity as believers scattered throughout the Roman Empire proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result of the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah, their temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., bringing an end to the sacrificial system.
Third, Jesus’ resurrection impacted the political realm. The Roman Empire had conquered nations and ruled the world, but in Jesus Christ they discovered a power unlike any other. They couldn’t explain why the man they had crucified was no longer in the grave. Furthermore, they had no ability to stop the spread of Christianity. The apostle Paul became the greatest missionary of all time as he and his fellow workers evangelized the Mediterranean world of that day (Acts 9:15). Even today, nations are being impacted by the Christian faith as the resurrection continues to be preached throughout the world.
Fourth, Christ’s resurrection changes the lives of individuals. It impacts more than just nations and worldly institutions. It is a deeply personal event, reaching directly into the hearts of all who believe in Jesus as their Savior. Because He was raised from the dead, we too have been raised to walk in newness of life through faith in Christ (Rom. 6:4). This is accomplished by His Holy Spirit who now lives within us. As we yield to Him, He empowers us to live holy, sanctified lives and transforms our character with His fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, and other godly qualities (Gal. 5:22-23). And one day even our bodies will be conformed into the likeness of Christ’s glorious body when we are resurrected (Phil. 3:21).
The far-reaching impact of Jesus’ resurrection continues today, and like the church of the first century, we have a responsibility to take the message of His death and resurrection wherever we go—even to the ends of the earth. Although some will reject the gospel, or even persecute the messengers, we can’t afford to keep this good news to ourselves because it has the power to give eternal life to all who believe and accept it. No other event in human history could do that.
It’s been almost two thousand years since Jesus rose from the dead, but the resurrection is still changing the world, one person at a time. He overcame death for us so we could live for Him today and forever. Now that’s a reason to rejoice this Easter.
Charles F. Stanley
P.S. As you celebrate Easter, remember the blessings that come as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We not only have the forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven, but also the Holy Spirit to help us live a holy, abundant life today. I pray that you’ll experience these blessings of Easter all year long.