Proved With Power
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 1:4b (Holman) “. . .(Jesus) was established as the powerful Son
of God by the resurrection from the dead. . .”
If Jesus rose from the dead, all of Christianity is true. If Jesus did not rise, none of our faith is valid. Every tenet of Christianity hinges on the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Paul bluntly said, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The resurrection is everything to us, the underpinning of all we believe.
Christianity rests on this premise; Jesus is the Son of God, the very substance of God. He is not a lesser God, but God of true God. Not all of God, but true God nevertheless. If this position is forfeited, we end up having nothing more than other religions under a new name, with one more prophet.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58b). The religious leaders called Him a liar and crucified Him for blasphemy. Either Jesus or the religious leaders had to be completely wrong. Both could not be right. The resurrection proved Jesus was correct.
The word “established” means designated with a monument, a marker placed to provide permanent evidence. The resurrection is the monument that declares “Jesus is 100% for sure the Son of God.” It did not make Him this. He never “became” the God’s Son. He always was. The resurrection just proved it.
Proof came not in academics, arguments, or philosophy, but in power. By rising from death, Christ was irresistibly and eternally proven to be the Son of God. The resurrection was God’s solemn, powerful “Amen!” to everything Jesus claimed to be. It was the grand sequel, the climactic curtain call.
At Jesus’ baptism, the Father had gently said, as with a dove, “This is My Son”. At Jesus’ transfiguration, the Father said it again, this time more gloriously, “This is MY SON!” At Jesus’ resurrection, the Father said it emphatically, loud and clear, “THIS IS MY SON!!!”
God often has a hard time getting His message through to sinners. We can be thickheaded, but the Lord has ways of capturing our attention. A burning bush caught Moses’ attention, ten plagues made Pharaoh focus, a blinding light riveted Paul’s attention, and a mind-boggling, inexplicable, unprecedented, death-defying resurrection got the world’s attention.
Whether we believe in the resurrection or not, it has our attention. It has to be confronted. If forces us to the Lord, Liar, Lunatic option (C. S. Lewis).
The miracles of Jesus did not overwhelmingly convince people He was God. He fed 5000, walked on water, and healed the blind and lame. As a result, some did believe, but many more disbelieved and said His power was magic or Satanic. But when it came to His resurrection, no one ever attempted to say magic or Satan caused it. Only God can raise the dead. Everyone knew if Jesus actually rose from death, it would be impossible to deny Jesus is God.
If the resurrection does not convince people, nothing will. We do not have a more powerful argument. Do not spend much time debating theology, predestination, eternal security, etc. As fast as possible, run to the resurrection.
The Resurrection Sunday morning was so blessed that it was celebrated not only once a year, on Easter, but commemorated every first day of the week, 52 times a year. Every seven-day cycle forces us to re-visit at least once the resurrection. This is to be our recurring theme. Tell others about it as often as we can. The disciples spoke of His resurrection often. We must do the same.
When Jesus was buried, my guess is, no one believed He was God. His message, His cause, His claims, and the disciples’ faith were buried with Him. But everything worthwhile returned with never ending strength on Sunday.
Many people have died, leaving wonderful legacies. When Jesus died, He left as His legacy a resurrected presence, mighty with power. He continues to be the Executor of His own will. He sends the Holy Spirit to remind us; if He is not in the tomb, He is in this room, and wants to live in each heart here.