The Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the bedrock fact of our faith. It is the heart of the good news about Jesus.

The resurrection was a real event, with historically verifiable manifestations. It took the apostles and disciples by surprise. Hiding and frightened in Jerusalem after the crucifixion, the apostles did not immediately believe the women when they reported an empty tomb. The empty tomb, however, was an essential sign of Jesus’ resurrection—a first step in acknowledging God’s work in bringing the Son back to life.

The apostles and disciples did believe, however, when the risen Lord himself appeared to them—in the upper room, to Peter, to Mary Magdalene (the first to see Christ), to disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the apostles in Galilee, to Saul who had been persecuting Christians, to more than 500 disciples at one time (1 Cor 15:5-8). Along with the Spirit's gifts of faith and fortitude, these appearances transformed frightened, confused, and disappointed followers of Jesus of Nazareth into bold, courageous witnesses who willingly lived and died proclaiming, "Jesus Christ is Lord!"

Jesus' resurrection to a glorious body, not limited by space or time and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, proves that he has conquered sin and death. Christ’s resurrection confirms Jesus' works and teachings. It fulfills the Old Testament promises and Jesus' preaching. It proves Jesus’ divinity. Additionally, while Jesus' death frees us from sin, his resurrection gives us new life, justifies us in God’s grace, and adopts us into the divine family.

Finally, the gospel promises that if we join ourselves to the risen Lord and live according to his message of love, we will also share in our own final resurrection at the end of time. Jesus' resurrection is the promise of our eternal life with God.