Raised With Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything
The apostle Paul cut to the core of Christianity with his statement on the Resurrection: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor. 15:13-14). So why do some Christians seem to neglect the Resurrection? And if Jesus Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, what are the implications for how we live? Adrian Warnock, a prominent blogger and part of the leadership team at London's Jubilee Church, explores these and other questions in an interview about his new book, Raised With Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything.
Jesus was miraculously raised from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago. We're about to celebrate that event with Easter, just as we do every year. So what was your particular burden for today in writing Raised With Christ?
It is interesting that most Christians talk about the Cross often, and yet we seem to only speak about the Resurrection at Easter. I have also noticed that there is a big contrast between our preaching today, which tends to assume the Resurrection while emphasizing the Cross, and the preaching of the book of Acts, which does the exact opposite, speaking far more about the Resurrection and how it has saved us. Charles Spurgeon noticed this neglect in his day as well, and argued that if our preaching better matched the book of Acts, we would see more people become Christians.
But it is not just preaching. When speaking about the gospel to unbelievers, before I got into studying the Resurrection, often I would bring them to the Cross and leave them there without even mentioning that Jesus had risen again. I am now convinced that if we do that we have only done half of the job. Without explicitly proclaiming the Resurrection, we have not declared the biblical gospel at all. We must also explain the implications of this event. If our understanding of how Jesus saved us makes the Resurrection almost an optional extra, it is clearly deficient.
How did the disciples begin to comprehend what happened with the Resurrection? Is there precedent in the Old Testament?
In my book there is a chapter about Old Testament references to resurrection. It is entitled "Glimpses of Resurrection" because these allusions often are really only hints. By the time of Jesus, however, there were many Jews who, like the Pharisees, believed in the idea of a physical resurrection for believers. Although there are three examples of resurrections in the Old Testament, no one had yet risen to never die again. A careful reading of some of the suffering servant prophecies might have led people to believe that the servant would be raised after his death. But Jews did not tend to apply those promises to the Messiah, preferring to think of him as a conquering king. Therefore, despite Jesus' repeated predictions of his own death and resurrection, it seems his disciples were not fully expecting what happened.
What do you find to be the most compelling evidence for believing that the Resurrection truly happened?
There is no historical doubt whatsoever that a man called Jesus lived and was crucified 2,000 years ago. It is also without dispute that a group arose quickly after his death claiming he was risen. Despite the apparent absurdity of such a claim and vigorous attempts to persecute them off the face of the earth, this group grew quicker than any other before or since. Soon the whole Roman Empire became a Christian state without a sword being raised by the all-conquering new faith. This remarkable growth is impossible to explain without the Resurrection.