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What is the Relevance of the Resurrection? (5 of 5)
Series: Who is This Jesus?
Have you seen the movie, The Passion of the Christ? Stop for just a moment and recall how the movie ends. It concludes with a scene of Christ's empty tomb. Why is this? Director Mel Gibson explains, "Without the resurrection, our faith is dead. The story's not complete without it."
Gibson is right. The most important event in human history is the resurrection of Christ. Yet, most people in today's world are not asking the question, "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?" If they are asking any question, it is, "What difference will Jesus' resurrection make in my life?" The concern is not scientific facts, but personal experience.
Some cringe over this cultural paradigm shift, yet the Christian life consists of both facts and feelings. Both are essential to a healthy relationship with God. Therefore, I will appeal to your legitimate needs and desires that can only be met in Jesus Christ.
John's gospel records seven statements in which Jesus describes Himself as, "I am..." In these "I am" statements, Jesus is making a claim to equality with God the Father. These brief declarations are intended to bring people to faith in Christ. However, the validity of these statements is grounded in Christ's resurrection. If Christ didn't rise, these claims are invalid. But if Christ rose, these claims are valid (cf. Romans 1:4).
Before considering the first "I am" statement, it is important to understand the history of this phrase. In the Old Testament, the description "I am" served as God's autograph. When God appeared to Moses at a crucial time in Israel's history, Moses asked God for a special revelation of Himself that would authenticate Moses as the leader of Israel (Exodus 3:14). In response, God made to Moses a new and awesome disclosure of His essential being, as well as His saving purposes for His chosen nation. Out of the strange fire of the ...
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