When the subject "what Christ did for us" comes up, thoughts fly to the death he suffered, the images of his crucifixion that we have seen in modern movies and ancient art. But what he did for us goes so far beyond suffering, he also was raised back to a new, transformed, and permanent body that has continuity between who he had been in life, and who he forever is in new life.
The early church's message was not radical because someone died to save a group of people.
The early church's message was radical because someone was raised from the dead to save a group of people and promises that they will also be raised from the dead to a new, transformed, and permanent body that has continuity with who they were in life, and who they forever will be in new life.
More than that (yes, it can get even better!), when Jesus was raised from the dead on that first Easter morning over 2,000 years ago many other hopes and dreams were finally being realized in the most unexpected way.
- The story (or "many stories" might be more appropriate) of God's people was being completed. For example, the promises to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and all the people of Israel that their existence would bring about a "seed," a "blessing," a "King," a "Messiah," a "suffering servant," and a "remnant," -- all of these hopes were realized, not in Jesus' death but in his new life.
- The teachings of Jesus, radical as they were, that God wants both the heart and the mind, both the body and the soul, that all people deserve love and human dignity, that tax collectors and women are people too, that no one can be good enough to enter the Kingdom of God without the help of God -- all of these teachings were also put on trial with Jesus and vindicated by God in his resurrection.
- The proof you and many others have looked for about how to live your life, how to live a full life, and what person or philosophy to follow in pursuit of a meaningful life were answered when one human being was raised to a glorified new body. The proof that you should follow Jesus is not only in his self-sacrificing love on the cross but his sufficient power and vindication in the resurrection that shows he threw nothing away that could not be raised even better than before.
There are other ways than these that hopes and dreams are met in Jesus, but these have sufficient staying power that they have been considered and pondered by Christians throughout the ages. What other implications of Jesus' resurrection come to your mind? What else was "met" or "fulfilled" at the moment his heart began to beat again on Sunday morning? Does Jesus' resurrection prove anything else to you?