"Why the Resurrection Matters"
Acts 1:21-22, 24a, 26b - [Peter said,] "One of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection." ... And they prayed ... And the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Peter is in a hurry to replace Judas. We can argue about whether he was in too much of a hurry—there are different views on this, and whether the first Christians should have waited till after Pentecost—but it's worth looking at the reason for the hurry. What did they want this replacement apostle to do?
Peter says, "One of these men must become with us a witness to Jesus' resurrection." That's what mattered to those first believers. Jesus' resurrection was more important than anything else, and they wanted the Twelve at full strength to bear witness to it.
Why? What's so important about the fact that Jesus rose from the dead? So many things.
To start with, we have a very simple human comfort in Jesus' resurrection. It means that, of all the people we love who have died, we have at least One who has risen and will never die again. That particular grief at least is ended. And so we are comforted, because His resurrection is a foretaste of the resurrection of all God's people, including those we grieve for right now.
But there's much more. The resurrection is God's stamp of approval on everything that Jesus said or did. God would never raise a liar from the dead, or even someone who was sincere but wrong. But He did raise Jesus! By doing that, God made it clear that He approves of what Jesus taught—including the bits where He calls Himself the Son of God.
The resurrection also makes it clear that Jesus' work is finished. He has taken away our sins, and we have peace with God the Father. He has broken the power of the devil, and we are set free from slavery. And Jesus has broken the power of death—not just for Himself, but for all of us who trust in Him. Now we have these gifts—forgiveness, freedom, and everlasting life. No one can take them from us.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that He can keep His promise to be with us forever, and to return visibly at the end of the world. That gives us hope as we live in a dark and broken world. It also gives us help right now, because we can call on Jesus for help whenever we need it. We know He will hear us and help us, because He is not gone. He is alive and keeping His promises.
Peter and the rest wanted a twelfth witness to Jesus' resurrection, one who had been an eyewitness from the beginning of Jesus' ministry. We are not eyewitnesses, but we are witnesses to Jesus' resurrection anyway—because we have the Holy Spirit living in us, and Jesus is alive and working in our lives. And someday we, too, will rise from the dead—because Jesus has risen, and He has promised to raise us, too.
WE PRAY: Dear Father, thank You for raising Your Son from the dead. This is our comfort and joy. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Why do you think the early Christians wanted as many strong witnesses as possible to the resurrection? Who would they be testifying to?
2. How would things be different if Jesus had not risen?
3. Why does the resurrection matter to you?
Today's Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 16-18 John 5:1-24
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"