All the Difference
Many people look upon the resurrection of Jesus as a superstition or myth. Or, if they do believe it is a fact of history, they see no reason why it should affect us today. They ask, “What difference does it make that Jesus Christ arose from the dead?” Well, it makes all the difference in the universe—for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest fact of history and the greatest demonstration of the power of God.
To begin with, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes the difference between life and death. Jesus Christ did die—there is no question about that. He did not swoon—He did not pretend to be dead—He actually died. The Roman officials made sure of His death before they released His body to His friends for burial. Yes, Jesus Christ died. He went through that experience that the Bible calls the wages of sin. He died, however, not because of His own sins, for He had none, but for the sins of the whole world.
But Jesus Christ arose from the dead! That is the message of the Gospel—“how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and was buried; and arose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” He was dead, but He conquered death and came forth alive. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” asked the angel. “He is not here, for He has risen as He said.”
I once asked a friend what the death rate was in his city, and he replied, “One apiece.” That’s biblical. “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.” None of us likes to think about it, but death is what we meet at the end of life, unless, of course, Jesus Christ returns to take us home. It is the lot of all men to die, and the Bible reminds us that death is an enemy, the last enemy.
But the resurrection of Jesus Christ has made the difference between life and death. If you are trusting Jesus Christ, you need never fear death or what follows death. Many people today are seeking for assurance and comfort in scientific studies and interviews with people who are supposed to have died. My friend, you had better get your assurance from a much more dependable source. Jesus Christ died—He was buried—and He arose again from the dead—and today He lives to make the difference between life and death.
A fear of death is not a wrong motive for action. People visit doctors and take medicine because they don’t want to die. Nobody criticizes them for that. They drive carefully and try to pay attention to the traffic laws because they don’t want to die; and for this we praise them. Well, is it wrong to want to be saved because, when the time comes to die, you want to go to heaven to be with Jesus Christ? Of course not! A man is a fool to care for the body and yet ignore the destiny of his soul.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ has made the difference between life and death. And it makes the difference between hope and despair. When our Lord’s followers saw Him arrested and crucified, they were sure His ministry and message had come to an end. Even on that first Easter day, those two disciples were walking to Emmaus with such hopelessness and defeat in their hearts. They said to Jesus (not knowing who He was), “We had hoped that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel…” Their hopes were gone.
Then Jesus Christ revealed Himself to them—and what a difference it made! Filled with the power of their new hope, these two men hastened to the other believers and told them that Jesus was alive! They had walked with Him, eaten with Him, and listened to Him teach the Word. When they discovered that Jesus was alive, despair vanished and a wonderful hope filled their hearts.
Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes the difference between despair and hope. Think of how defeated Peter was: he had failed his Lord, he had failed the disciples, and certainly he had failed himself. Then he met Jesus—the Lord appeared to Peter especially on that first Easter Sunday—and what a difference it made in Peter’s life. Simon Peter was forgiven and restored to his ministry. The living Christ had turned Peter’s despair into hope, and Peter walked into an exciting new future.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not simply a fact of ancient history—it is a force in our lives today. Because we have trusted Him, the power of His resurrection enables us to face the future with confidence and hope—because Jesus Christ is alive. He makes all the difference between despair and hope.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ also makes a difference between weakness and power. Certainly our Lord was crucified in weakness. He willingly submitted to His enemies. He could have exercised tremendous power and delivered Himself, but that would have been out of the Father’s will. Jesus came to give Himself—not save Himself. If He saved Himself, He could not save us.
He was crucified in weakness—but He was raised in power. God rolled the stone away from the tomb. Jesus came forth in glory and power, never to die again. He defeated all the powers of sin and death and in His resurrection released God’s power for our lives today.
Salvation not only means deliverance from the terrible penalty of sin, it also means deliverance from the power of sin. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 6:4, “that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” What a thrilling statement: walk in newness of life! Old sins, old attitudes, old habits—all of these can be conquered as we depend upon the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
This is what happened to Simon Peter. He was a boastful coward when Jesus was arrested, and he failed miserably. But when Peter received the resurrection power of Christ on the Day of Pentecost, his life was transformed. No longer a coward, he boldly preached Christ to the people, and 3,000 of them were saved. The resurrection of Jesus Christ made the difference between weakness and power, defeat and victory.
This same resurrection power in available to you. It can make the difference between life and death, hope and despair, weakness and power. Let Jesus Christ control your life, and His power will be yours. What a difference it will make!