So they came to Jesus to ask for a sign. He had already turned water to wine, healed every sick person brought to Him, fed the multitudes on two occasions and spoken life changing words. Yet, they were not satisfied. What more could God do to show the authenticity of Jesus and the new covenant He was revealing? His answer was, “No sign will be given . . . except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matt. 12:39; 16:4). Now think about this for a moment. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s ultimate sign to Christians that we are His people.
The resurrection of Jesus was at the heart of preaching at the beginning of the church in the book of Acts. The apostles proclaimed His resurrection, and one could not be an apostle unless he had seen the risen Christ (1:22). The central theme of the first sermon which gave birth to the church was His resurrection—it is mentioned four times in that one sermon (2:24, 30, 31, 32). It is mentioned twice in the next recorded sermon (3:15, 26). The first persecution came about because they proclaimed this sign from heaven (4:2), and it was defended by Peter and John in both of the trials before the Jewish council (4:10; 5:30-31). God’s grace was poured out on the infant church as it preached the resurrection (4:33).
The resurrection of Jesus was at the heart of preaching as the church spread in the book of Acts. When the gospel first spread to the Gentiles, the resurrection was preached (Acts 10:41-42). The resurrection was preached in the synagogues of Asia Minor (13:30, 33, 34). As the church began in Europe, His resurrection was preached at Thessalonica (17:3) and at Athens (17:18, 31, 32). Add to this the fact that Paul mentions the resurrection at least 31 times in his epistles.
The resurrection of Jesus should be in the heart of every Christian. The sign given to the Jews was a day of rest to remind them of their days of slavery in Egypt (Ex. 31:16-17; Deut. 5:15). We were not slaves in that land, but God has given us a far greater sign. It is this sign which is at the heart of Christianity. We pray to our Father by the authority of a risen Savior (John 16:23). Our risen Savior is the only Mediator between us and God (1 Tim. 2:5). We sing in the assembly of the church with Him who was raised from the dead (Heb. 2:12). Every week we come together as a church (1 Cor. 11:18) to eat at the Lord’s table (1 Cor. 11:20) remembering Him (1 Cor. 11:25)—that it was every week is show in 1 Cor. 16:1-2). The empty tomb is God’s sign to us!
The resurrection is the only sign we need! We do not serve a lifeless idol, but a living Savior. Thank God for this sign!