Finally, there is the resurrection itself. A careful study of the times shows us that everybody, pagan and Jew, had no doubt that resurrection meant a physical event; it’s just that most non- Jewish cultures denied it could happen, deeming the physical world either evil or illusory.

Something happened on Easter morning, something so huge, so remarkable, that the writers of the New Testament were unafraid to write down the full account, even down to details that (at first blush) would seem to detract from their message. It was something the first witnesses were willing to lay down their lives for.

They had seen an empty tomb. They had seen Jesus, alive in the most physical sense possible. The Old Testament made sense in a new, wonderful kind of way.

As typical first century Jews, they all believed there would be a general resurrection, but that of Christ didn’t happen the way they expected – but happen it did. It forced them to re-examine their take on the Old Testament. It didn’t contradict what was written, but it made sense in a bigger, wonderful way.

A whole book wouldn’t be enough to examine it all, but (to name a few) Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, the Passover, the whole system of sacrifice for sin have a new significance.

The resurrection of Christ is the defining moment, the distinct event that sets the Christian religion apart: a historical event, the final integration of the physical and the spiritual. God was shown as not an abstract creed, but a Person, the embodiment of sacrificial, redeeming love.

It is the proof that Jesus’ sacrifice really did atone for our sins, and that we can be sure of our acceptance in Him. It happened in history, at a definite time and place, and we can dig and research and examine the evidence for ourselves.

Right now, a Human Being sits on Heaven’s throne. And we are promised, as those who trust in Him, that we will share in His physical, immortal existence. Death itself has been defeated; beyond all hope there will be a happy ending – if it can be called that: for this life will be seen as just the beginning.

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