Most accept that Jesus was a real person in history, who lived some 2,000 years ago in Israel. But the idea that he was more than a man, that he was “God in the flesh,” is accepted by fewer people.
Even some who honestly think of themselves as “Christians,” or followers of Jesus Christ, can’t quite accept that he can be thought of in terms of deity, as we can concerning God the holy father.
A careful look at the inspired scriptures provides reliable evidence of Jesus’ deity in his resurrection, as well as by many other proofs. Simply speaking, the significance of his resurrection for humanity can’t be overstated.
Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, maintained in a letter to the church at Corinth, in ancient Greece, that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ were of “first importance” concerning the content and nature of the gospel, or “good news” about salvation from sin (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Nothing is more significant than this.
The same apostle opened his letter to the church in Rome with the testimony that Jesus “... was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, ....” (Romans 1:4).
Peter, one of the original apostles, affirmed to Jews in Jerusalem, in the first recorded sermon, that proof of Jesus’ deity is seen in his miraculous works, as well as his resurrection. “... this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:23-24). This was God’s method of proving who Jesus was — the divine son of God.
As we think further about the significance of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, we can recall the nighttime visit to Jesus by Nicodemus, a member of the ruling council of the Jewish people, saw something special about Jesus and his work., his identity and authority. Among his first words was a confident expression of belief that “... you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). This wasn’t likely an affirmation easily made, since many of the Sanhedrin council passionately opposed Jesus and his activities.
This same Nicodemus later helped prepare Jesus’ body for burial (John 19:39).
The truth is that the question of whether Jesus was raised involves a simple proposal: If he was, his deity is established without doubt, and every sinner is accountable to him. But if he wasn’t raised, his claims were false, and he wears the title of History’s Greatest Deceiver!
Jesus came to save sinners (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15) and died on the cross to provide the means for that salvation. But, as Paul warns those who question his resurrection, if he is still in the grave, his death meant nothing. On the other hand, because he was raised, we can enjoy confident assurance of our own resurrection when he returns to take us to live with him in eternity.
Thank God we can believe and live a life of faith in the reality of the living savior!