“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.” John 20:18
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the faith of those who claim to follow Him. What did Jesus claim about Himself prior to this important event? Let’s take a brief walk through the Gospels that give us an indication.
First, Jesus claimed that He lived a life without sin. In John 8 Jesus asked: “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (vss.46-47) In Jesus’ time, as in our time, sometimes people who seem to be doing the right thing do not and those who seem to be doing wrong are really not. Truth is in God’s Law, His Word, and Jesus never failed to obey the Father.
Second, Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We live in a time where the common thought of man is “I will believe what I want and if I am a good person I will go to heaven, if there is such a place.” Jesus indicates differently – He is the sole way to the Father and if a person is searching for truth then He is the one to follow.
Third, Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sin. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ (They said) ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Luke 5:20,21b) Like many today, some believed Jesus and others did not. Have you accepted that He has forgiven you of your sin?
Fourth, Jesus claimed to give eternal life to anyone who would receive it. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28, 30) Only God could give eternal life, and this made it clear to all, that Jesus was claiming He was God Himself.
Lastly, Jesus claimed to die and come back from the dead exactly the way it happened. “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’” (Luke 18:31-33)
The life, death, and resurrection were all part of God’s plan to redeem the world – to save each and every person from eternal separation from the Father. Jesus was the Savior come into the world to deliver each of us from the destruction that was all consuming.
We celebrate the Resurrection of Christ because, without it, there is no other way to the Father. The last claim in our list had to come true or we would still be eternally separated from God.