The Up-to-the-Minute Relevance of the Resurrection
The most fantastic claim Christians make is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It strains our credulity to the utmost. But Christians have a second problem with the Resurrection: not only whether it happened, but whether it matters if it happened, because it happened (if it did happen) two thousand years ago. People ask how an event of such remote antiquity can possibly have any significance for us today at the end of the twentieth century. Why on earth do Christians make such a song and dance about the Resurrection? Isn't it irrelevant? Does it really matter? My task today, as I conceive it, is to try to persuade you of the relevance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the up-to-date—really up-to-the-minute—relevance of the Resurrection.
The Resurrection somehow resonates with our human condition. It speaks to our needs as I reckon no other event of antiquity does, or even could. Certainly, the early Christians were convinced of this. They knew not only that it had taken place, but that it was an event of enormous significance. So central was the Resurrection to their message—I wonder if you remember this—that Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, describes Peter and John as "preaching Jesus and the Resurrection." And it was the same with Paul when he was speaking with the philosophers in Athens. They were extremely rude to him. They called him in Greek spermologos, that is, "a guttersnipe." The reason for their ridicule was that he preached to them about Jesus and the Resurrection. And when the time came for Paul to summarize his message, he wrote, "I passed on to you as the first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that on the third day ...
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John Stott was the former rector emeritus of All Souls Church in London, a prolific author and scholar, and a mentor to many Christian leaders around the globe.